Herpes infection rates are dropping among young Americans, and safer sex practices may be one reason why.
Roughly 12 percent of adults were infected with genital herpes (HSV-2) in 2015-2016, down from 18 percent in 1999-2000, a new government report found.
The same promising trend was seen with HSV-1, a form of herpes that causes sores around the mouth and lips, sometimes called fever blisters or cold sores. Forty-eight percent of Americans had the condition in 2015-2016, a drop from 59 percent in 1999-2000.
“The report tells us that two of our most prevalent viruses in the U.S population, HSV-1 and HSV-2, are steadily declining,” said report author Geraldine McQuillan. She is a researcher with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
McQuillan added that other countries have seen a similar decline in the past two decades, and “improvements in living conditions, better hygiene and less crowding” may explain that drop.
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