A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the rate of herpes infections have declined in the United States in recent years. Nonetheless, about half of adolescents and adults under 50 are infected with the oral herpes virus, and about 1 in 8 have genital herpes.
For this report, researchers analyzed information from a national survey conducted in 2015 and 2016 involving people between 14 and 49 who had been screened for herpes. This screening involved a blood test to detect antibodies against herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), which causes oral herpes – cold sores – and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), which causes genital herpes.
According to the researchers, rates of both HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections decreased from 1999-2000 to 2015-2016. HSV-1 infection rates fell by 11 percentage points, and HSV-2 infection rates dropped by 6 percentage points during the 16-year period.