The World Health Organization (WHO) announced the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infects around 3.7 billion of the world’s population under 50-years-old.
HSV-1 is contagious through oral-to-oral contact and causes cold sores. HSV-2 is the sexually transmitted herpes virus that causes genital herpes. However, in developed countries, HSV-1 is now “an increasing cause of infection” due to “improved hygiene.” This means young adults are at risk “of catching it via oral sex when they become sexually active.”
WHO discovered 49% of women in the Americas have HSV-1 compared to 39% of the men. Dr. Neil Rau, an infectious diseases expert at CTV News, told the network the numbers are alarming because people rarely show symptoms. Therefore, many people do not know they have it, and there is no cure for the disease.
“It’s the type of virus that once you get it, you don’t actually clear it. It goes into a dormant state,” he explained. “Most people have no symptoms, some reactivate once in a blue moon. Some people don’t reactivate but they shed the virus from time to time and that’s how they pass it to others.”
Dr. Marleen Temmerman, the director of WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research, said young people must have “access to education and information on both types of herpes and sexually transmitted infections” to keep them safe when they choose to become sexually active. WHO medical officer Sammi Gottlieb demanded the development of a herpes vaccine. GlaxoSmithKline PLC attempted a vaccine previously, but stopped when it was not effective against HSV-2, even though it showed evidence of fighting HSV-1.
“That was interesting and promising and gave a proof of concept that these vaccines can be developed,” she said. “There’s a lot of work ongoing and we’re hopeful that we’ll have an HSV vaccine in the future.”
This revelation comes only a few days after WHO declared war on red meat and stated that bacon causes cancer. They even categorized bacon with smoking and asbestos. But Susannah Mushatt Jones, the oldest living person, at 116-years-old, claims bacon is her secret to a long life.