CDC: 1 in 6 Americans Has Herpes

By: Alicia Myers Email
By: Alicia Myers Email

One in six Americans is living with herpes.

In a recent study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 21% of women, and 11.5% of men are infected with herpes.

"That's probably just the tip of the iceberg of what we know of what's reported to us. It is fairly common, and is fairly easily transmissible. So, we know that a lot of people have it, and because it's easily transmissible, more people are getting it," said Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer, State of Nebraska.

19 million new std infections occur every year.

Of those numbers, Dr. Schaefer says Nebraska sees roughly 850 herpes cases.

But, the CDC says more than 80% of people infected don't know they have the virus.

"People can contract herpes, really not be all that symptomatic from it, and not know they have it, and then, have sexual intercourse with someone, spread it, and not realize that they've even spread it," said Dr. Schaefer.

Herpes is split into two types, herpes one, and herpes two.

"They're most commonly sexually transmitted infections, and herpes one is most commonly found in the mouth, and herpes two is most commonly found in the groin," said Schaefer. "When you have herpes, it causes a blistering rash. It's self-limited, and goes away. Most people are familiar with a cold sore. It's the same thing if you get it in the genital region."

Blacks are three times more likely than whites to be infected, and 48 percent of black women carry the disease.

Although it's not life-threatening, the CDC says people with herpes are two to three times more likely to become infected with HIV.

Once contracted, the disease will more-than-likely always live in you.

Dr. Schaefer says smart decisions about sex may be the best solution.

"There's a lot that can be said for a monogamous relationship. There's a lot that can be said from not having sex if it's not the right time, and there's only so much that a condom can do to protect you. We know that with herpes. Herpes is moderately protected by the use of a condom, but not completely, because lesions are on the skin, and sometimes, there's still skin contact. It is what it is. People need to be careful, and i think people are smart enough to figure out what they're supposed to do. I think the issue is following through with that," said Dr. Schaefer.

Since herpes is a virus, there is no cure, but, doctors can prescribe medicine to decrease the symptoms.

Another interesting note, chicken pox and shingles are also considered herpes, but they live in your spine.

KOLN-TV Call: (402) 467-4321 Toll-free: 1-800-475-1011 840 North 40th Lincoln, NE 68503 Email: KGIN-TV Call: (308) 382-6100 123 N Locust Street Grand Island, NE 68802 Email: KSNB-TV Toll free 888-475-1011 123 N. Locust St. Grand Island, NE 68802 Email :
Copyright © 2002-2015 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 88852007 -
Gray Television, Inc.