Skip to content

    Sexual Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    How Common Is Genital Herpes?

    Genital herpes infection is common in the U.S. Nationwide, over 24 million men and women are infected with HSV-2, the virus that causes genital herpes, And there are 776,000 new HSV-2 infections each year. About 16% of Americans between the ages of 14 and 49, or one in 6, is infected with the virus. In addition, there is an increasing number of cases of genital herpes that are attributed to an HSV-1 infection, the usual cause of cold sores. Along with causing genital herpes, infection with HSV-2 can facilitate infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

    HSV-2 infection is more common in women (approximately 1 out of 5 women) than in men (almost 1 out of 9). This may be because male-to-female transmission is more efficient than female-to-male transmission. HSV-2 infection is also more common in blacks (39.2%) than in whites (12.3%). Factors that influence race differences in prevalence of infection include a higher rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in African-American communities and access to quality health care.

    Recommended Related to Sexual Health

    What Does It Take to Lift Your Sex Life to the Next Level?

    When it comes to giving your sex life a boost, your first instinct might be to turn to the usual suspects: lacy lingerie, scented oils, maybe a naughty toy or two. But who knew that getting a new dishwasher, practicing Pilates, or having a baby — yes, really! — could improve your bedroom connection? Read on to find out what worked for these real couples.

    Read the What Does It Take to Lift Your Sex Life to the Next Level? article > >

    Since the late 1990s, the number of Americans with genital herpes infection has remained about the same. Young people between the ages of 15 and 24, however, are the most likely to get a new STD infection. Half of all the new STD infections are in this age group, though they only reflect about 25 percent of the total population.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein, MD on May 22, 2015

    Today on WebMD

    Sex Drive Killers Slideshow
    Slideshow
    How Healthy is Your Sex Life
    Quiz
     
    HPV Vaccine Future
    Article
    Couple in bed
    Video
     
    HIV Myth Facts
    Slideshow
    STD Overview
    Slideshow
     
    Birth control pills
    Slideshow
    Herpes Vaccine Study
    Video
     
    6 Tips For Teens
    Feature
    things your guy wish you knew slideshow
    Slideshow
     
    Tense teen couple
    Article
    Better Sex Exercises
    Article