The seroprevalences of HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections in the United States have been studied in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a large ongoing population-based study.
In NHANES III (midpoint 1991), the seroprevalences of HSV-1 and HSV-2 were 68% and 22%, respectively.(1,2) Both infections were more common among women and nonwhite participants.
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It’s true that the majority of the time, genital outbreaks are symptomatic of HSV II, but you can be infected by either type in either location, or even have both types in a given location — which makes me think that, functionally speaking, distinguishing between oral and genital infections is pointless.
If you can asymptomatically shed the virus from any point of your body and it can infect any point of another person’s body, isn’t any type or location of herpes just…herpes?
But get this-140 million adults have genital infections caused by HSV-1, meaning half a billion people could sexually transmit either virus. Herpes has been seriously stigmatized for years, but the fact is, if you don't have one type of herpes already, you're very likely to be exposed to it eventually.
Below, we bust eight big myths about this common infection. RELATED: Top 10 Myths About Safe Sex and Sexual Health Myth: Cold sores and genital sores are way different Many people wrongfully believe that cold sores don't count as "real" herpes, explains Raquel Dardik, MD, a clinical associate professor at NYU Langone's Joan H. This big misconception stems from the general patterns of the two types.
To really break it down, let's say you touch an infected person's genitals with your mouth while they're shedding the virus, but there's no genital-to-genital touching.