Herpes Facts

cropped-DWH1-1.jpg

Dating With Herpes. org is about:

**********

HERPES FACTS

  • Genital Herpes (HSV-1, HSV-2) is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases/infections (STD, STI) worldwide.
  • Genital Herpes can be caused by both HSV-1 and HSV-2.
  • 60% to 80% of Adults in the US have HSV-1.  Most people contract HSV-1 when they are children by receiving a kiss from a parent, friend or relative.  HSV-1 is commonly known for causing occasional cold-sores around the mouth. However, HSV-1 is also a leading cause of genital herpes.  HSV-1 is responsible for at least HALF of all new cases of genital herpes in the United States.  The rise in the number of cases of genital HSV-1 is due to the increasing prevalence of oral sex, for which most people do not use protection.  Even when cold sores are not present, it is quite common to spread HSV-1 from one partner to another via oral to genital contact.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 16% (one in six) persons ages 14-49 in the United States has a genital HSV-2 infection. This figure does NOT include anyone with a genital HSV-1 infection, and HSV-1 accounts for more than HALF of all new cases of genital herpes.  The figure above also does NOT include data for anyone age 50 or over.  Therefore, the actual percent of people with genital herpes is likely to be more than 30% of all adults in the US.
  • According to the same study from the CDC. women actually have a higher incidence than men of HSV-2, about 20% (or 1 in every 5 women), and most don’t know it.
  • 80-90% of people with herpes DO NOT EVEN KNOW that they have any type of Herpes.  Most doctors do NOT include a blood test for herpes, even when they are testing their patients for other common STD’s.  “Testing for everything” usually does NOT include a test for herpes.  You have to ask your doctor specifically to give you a herpes blood test or else you probably have NEVER been tested for herpes.
  • For most people with herpes, symptoms are absent, or are very mild and infrequent, and are easily mistaken for something else – like a vaginal infection, jock itch or ingrown hair, etc.  Many people with herpes never notice any symptoms at all.  The herpes pictures you may find online only show the worst cases, which are extremely rare.  Most people with herpes appear to have NO visible symptoms, most of the time. The absence of symptoms does NOT mean the absence of herpes or another STD.
  • Herpes can be spread even when there are no noticeable symptoms.  In fact, most new cases of herpes occur when there are NO noticeable symptoms, but the virus is still present on the surface of the skin.  This is called “asymptomatic shedding“.  More often than not, the “gifter” does not even know that they have herpes or that it is possible to spread herpes when there are no noticeable symptoms.
  • There are many ways to reduce the risk of getting herpes or spreading herpes.  People who carry the virus for herpes are usually only contagious a small percent of the time.  Proper use of antiviral medications and condoms, keeping healthy and avoiding stress, are some of the ways to reduce the risk of spreading herpes.
  • Lots of people you know – are already living with genital herpes.  Maybe your postman, your teacher, your boss, your colleague, your landlord, your classmate, your grandparent, your room-mate, your work-out buddy, your nurse, your pastor, your neighbor, your coach, your plumber, your baby-sitter, your cousin, your parent, your partner/spouse, and maybe even you!   Just because you don’t have any symptoms does NOT mean that you don’t have herpes or another STD.  Your doctor has probably never given you a herpes blood test.  If you want to know your herpes status, ask your doctor for a type-specific herpes blood test.

**********

WHERE TO GO NEXT

If you have been recently diagnosed with genital herpes, you may be upset and confused and think your sex life is over.  However, once you settle down and learn the facts, you will realize  that having genital herpes is not the end of the world, and herpes is not the end of  your sex life or your social life.  There are millions of other people out there just like you.  You are not alone!

This site is a work in progress.  We appreciate your feedback and suggestions and links.  We especially appreciate it if you tell us about broken links or give us links to new articles or research studies or anything else that can help us improve this site and provide better and more recent information to people seeking the most up-to-date, reputable, useful information for people dating with genital herpes.  Thank you for your help!

Please SHARE DatingWithHerpes.org with other people you care about.

Good luck and happy herpes dating!