According to the World Health Organization report on Wednesday, 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 are affected by cold sores causing virus
The herpes simplex 1 virus (HSV-1) is also a sexually transmitted disease that can cause sores on the genitals, the Public Library of Science journal writes, as two kinds of incurable herpes viruses are causing sexually transmitted infections in people: HSV-2 (genital herpes, mostly transmitted by oral or unprotected sex) and the painful and unpleasant HSV-1 (so far known to be transmitted by kissing).
The painful and recurring blisters can be treated with antiviral drugs, but the medication only controls the virus and it is not able to cure the infection for good.
“The global burden of HSV-1 infection is huge.
“An estimated 140 million people aged 15-49 years were calculated to have prevalent genital HSV-1 infection globally in 2012”, the WHO team of researchers note.
The World Health Organization estimates that in America only HSV-1 affects 49 percent of women and 39 percent of men, for a total of more than 300 million people. In Africa, 87 per cent of the people are infected with HSV-1, while in Southeast Asia up to 60 per cent of the population carry the viral infection.
“The new estimates highlight the crucial need for countries to improve data collection for both HSV types and sexually transmitted infections in general,” adds Dr. Marleen Temmerman, director of WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research.