How Many People Have Herpes?

May 5th, 2011  |  Published in Genital Herpes Fast Facts

According to a

CDC data, genital herpes, caused by the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), is one of the most common STDs in the United States. But exactly how many people have herpes?

How Many People Have Herpes: Fast Facts

  • 16.2%, or one out of six, people ages 14 to 49 is infected with HSV-2, the virus that causes genital herpes
  • Of those infected, 90% are unaware they have the virus
  • Genital herpes is highest among African Americans with a 39.2% positivity rate
  • In the past 10 years, the percentage of U.S. citizens with genital herpes has remained stable

How Many People Have Herpes: Men vs. Women

  • One in nine sexually active men, ages 14 to 49, has genital herpes
  • One in five sexually active women, ages 14 to 49, has genital herpes
  • 48% of African American women are infected with the HSV 2 virus

Herpes transmission is more common from an infected man to his female partner than an infected woman to her male partner. Due to anatomical differences, women are more susceptible to contracting genital herpes.

How Many People Have Herpes: Why HSV-2 is So Common

  • A herpes infection can spread from person to person even without visible symptoms
  • Genital herpes is spread through skin-to-skin contact, including sex play
  • The virus often goes undiagnosed; a herpes infection can be asymptomatic or mimic less serious conditions such as jock itch, ingrown hairs, yeast infection, or a mild skin rash.

Concerned About Having a Herpes Infection?

Since genital herpes (HSV 2) is highly contagious and often has no symptoms, it is no wonder how many people have herpes. The CDC and STD experts recommend annual herpes testing for sexually active adults or testing for those who may have been exposed to the virus.

Herpes is best managed when diagnosed and treated early. Click here for more information about genital herpes or to order a private genital herpes testing.

Related links: A Quick Guide to Common Herpes Symptoms

Source: CDC -


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