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How do so many people have herpes?


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Good evening,

I've read the Valtrex studies that suggest female to male transmission of herpes is very low. Indicating that if condoms, antivirals, and avoiding contact during outbreaks are used, it's about 1% per year. I know the male to female stats are about double the male. My question is, if this is the case, how in the heck has it become so common? Focusing on HSV2 here. It just seems if it were that hard to transmit...there would be no way that 1/5ish women would have it. I read that it's estimated that single women over 45 years old--50-75% of them are believed to have HSV2! I just can't follow how the stats line up with the study done. Any thoughts or can someone help clarify?

Also, is anyone familiar with any type of antiviral lubricant? It seems that would be a great product if developed. Or even just an antiviral cream? If that could be applied to a male before sex you would think it would be quite effective. I read about the vivagel condom, but I don't see where that can be bought yet in America.


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my guess would be that it is spread around by people who are newly infected and/or don't know they have it. you are more contagious during the first year you have it. and if you have any illnesses/diseases i believe you are more susceptible. i have Crohns and have read that having this disease can make it "easier" to contract herpes. plus I'm on immunosuppressants so that didn't help, either!

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BummerKC, I keep wondering the same thing.

The other thing I cannot understand is that if H1 'likes' the mouth area and H2 'likes' the genital area, then why am I reading on this forum people saying they have it on their elbow or hand? I don't get it.

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The key issue is that most do not know they have their infection. The transmission rates are only as low as mentioned if both partners are conscious of the infection and take appropriate measures.

Many infections still happen when lesions are present.

There are exceptionally few people with HSV-1 on their hands and elbows. Most 'cases' you read on here are not correctly diagnosed or likely to be HSV-1.

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While it is estimated that 1 in 4 women, and 1 in 6 men (US stats - In Canada, 1-7 of the population has HSV2) have HSV2, only 20% have ever been diagnosed with it.

That means that 80% of the people with herpes have no idea that they have it. As a result, they spread it, because they are either asymptomatic, or spot the symptoms and don't recognize it for what it is.

Herpes testing is not included in the typical STD testing. You must request it, and pay a fee. The only time you'll be quickly tested for herpes is when you have an outbreak. In these cases, they'll use a swab, and the results are much more reliable when compared to the blood tests.

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