Genital herpes is one of the three most prevalent
sexually transmitted infections in the United States and one of the most common
sexually transmitted infections worldwide.
17% of adults in the United States are infected with
herpes simplex virus (HSV-2).1
More women than men have genital herpes. Recent
research estimates that more than 910,000 women are newly infected with
herpes simplex virus (HSV-2) each year.2
The greatest increase in genital herpes infection
in the past decade has been among teenagers.
The risk for
transmission from an infected mother to her newborn is highest (30% to 50%) for
mothers who have a primary infection but who may not have apparent blisters or
sores. If a pregnant woman has recurrent outbreaks, the risk of passing the
virus to the baby is reduced to less than 1%.3
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010). Seroprevalence of herpes simplex virus type 2 among persons aged 14-49 years-United States, 2005-2008. MMWR, 59(15): 456-459. Also available online: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/wk/mm5915.pdf.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
(2004, reaffirmed 2006). Gynecologic herpes simplex virus infections. ACOG
Practice Bulletin No. 57. Obstetrics and Gynecology,
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2010).
Genital HSV infections. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines 2010 (CDC Publication Vol. 59, No. RR-12), pp. 20-25.
Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available online:
Primary Medical Reviewer
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, MPH - Infectious Disease
December 21, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
December 21, 2010
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