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Monday, April 26, 2010

Genital herpes

The Centers for Disease Control reported in its MMWR publication based on the 2005-2008 N-HANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) that 16% of 14-49 year olds have genital herpes. The prevalence among teenagers 14-19 was 1.4% (95% confidence interval 1-2%), 2.1% among females and 0.8% among males. The prevalence rises with each decade. Among 20-29 year olds, the prevalence is 10.5%, among 30-39 year olds 19.6%, and among 40-49 year olds 26.1%. The rising prevalence among those in their 30s and 40s indicates a similar proportion of people who begin negative who continue to be sexually active. Presumably, these rising prevalences reflect continuing acquisition of new sexual partners in these age groups in our society, whether through serial monogamy, divorce, or multiple partners(the breakdown by these interesting categories of single, married and divorced are not reported in the MMWR).

Take home messages: Both lower numbers of sexual partners and condom use limit the spread of genital herpes and your risk of acquiring it. Keep it zipped, say no or use a condom.

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