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How common is genital herpes?

Herpes simplex, the virus that causes genital herpes, is highly contagious. Genital herpes is a fairly common disease that typically spreads through sexual contact. Once someone contracts the infection, the virus remains in the body and symptoms may reoccur from time to time. Interestingly, many people with the virus show no symptoms, so they may not even know they have it. Other people may only experience one outbreak or go years before they experience another bout of symptoms.

Genital herpes is common. At least 45 million Americans age 12 and older have genital herpes. Genital HSV-2 infection is more common in women than men. About 1 in 4 women have HSV-2 infection compared to almost 1 in 8 men. This is due to the fact that women can get genital herpes and some other STIs more easily than men.
The answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.