Your high school sex ed teacher may have scared you with the shocking statistic that 1 in 5 people has herpes — but it turns out, the world is much more infected than that!
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization said that two-thirds of the world's population has the virus that causes cold sores!
According to a new report, 3.7 BILLION people under the age of 50 have the incurable herpes virus. This includes herpes simplex 1 virus (HSV-1) which is usually caught in childhood, and genital herpes (HSV-2) which is sexually transmitted.
But the new report shows that HSV-1 can also cause genital sores to develop — and oral sex is becoming the most prominent way it's transmitted!
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The WHO research team said:
"The global burden of HSV-1 infection is huge. An estimated 140 million people aged 15-49 years were calculated to have prevalent genital HSV-1 infection globally in 2012."
The Americas is actually the region with the lowest rates. The report estimates that 49 percent of women (178 million) have HSV-1, and 39 percent of men (142 million) do!
In Southeast Asia, around 60 percent of people have HSV-1, and in Africa, it's closer to 87 percent.
Both types of virus can cause painful blisters that can spread, even if the carrier doesn't have skin blisters. While both can be treated with the same anti-viral drugs, the infection cannot be cured.
So basically, be extra careful who you put your mouth on!
Tags: health, herpes, icky icky poo, science!, world health organization