Statistics released by international health officials suggest that two out of three people in the world have a form of herpes.
The World Health Organization said an estimated 3.7 billion people, or two thirds of the global population under the age of 50, are infected with herpes simplex virus type 1.
“Herpes is a lifelong infection, which often has mild or no symptoms but can be detected by the presence of antibodies in the blood,” the WHO posted to its Facebook page.
WHO said the virus is categorized into two types, 1 and 2. It said both are highly infectious and incurable.
“Access to education and information on both types of herpes and sexually transmitted infections is critical to protect young people’s health before they become sexually active,” said Dr. Marleen Temmerman, director of WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research.
HSV-1 is mostly spread by oral contact. The WHO said these are commonly referred to as cold sores.
HSV-2 is almost entirely sexually transmitted, according to WHO. This is done through skin-to-skin contact and called genital herpes.
WHO’s data from 2012 showed that the infection was more prevalent among women in the Americas than men. It said 178 million, or 49 percent of women, were infected. Thirty nine percent of men, or 142 million, were infected.
More information can be found on the WHO’s website here.
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