Genital herpes barely needs an introduction. Despite its familiarity, there’s a fair amount of mystery surrounding this all-too-common STD. Let’s get the facts straight. Here are five things to know about genital herpes:
1. Genital herpes is more common than you think. This virus affects about 16.2% of the U.S. population.
2. Unfortunately, women are more burdened by genital herpes than men due to anatomical differences. Approximately 1 out of 5 women harbor the virus, while 1 out of 9 men.
3. As many as 90% of people with the virus are unaware of their infection due to the lack of noticeable genital herpes symptoms.
4. Genital herpes can be spread even when symptoms aren’t present. This process occurs several days per year and is known as asymptomatic shedding or asymptomatic reactivation.
5. Contrary to popular myths, genital herpes can NOT be contracted through a toilet seat, towel, swimming pool or other inanimate objects. This STD is spread only through skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual.
Basically, genital herpes is one of the sneakiest STDs; many people don't even know they have it which allows the virus to spread. If you suspect you have been exposed to genital herpes, get a genital herpes test.