More than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 – or 67% of the population – are infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), according to WHO’s first global estimates of HSV-1 infection published today in the journal PLOS ONE.
We’re talking about type 1 here, which is transmitted primarily via mouth-to-mouth contact and leads to cold sores around the mouth. It is “highly infectious and incurable,” but also, like, not a very big deal. Or, anyway, since it is now more common among the human population than penises, we’d all better fucking get used to it.
Also, the key word up there was “primarily”—the study wants us all to know you can totally get type 1 herpes down there, should someone with an HSV-1 oral cold sore put their mouth on your genitals. People in developed nations are generally “at risk of contracting it genitally through oral sex after they become sexually active.” Which, hey, that might even be a fair trade!
Another 417 million people have HSV-2, which causes genital herpes, but, like, not the same as HSV-1 mouth-to-genital herpes? At any rate, taken together, the world’s got a cool half-a-billion herpes-positive people between the ages of 15 and 49. Remind yourself that some very significant percentage of people in that age range who don’t have herpes are virgins who just don’t yet have herpes. It’s a rite of passage! An occasional reminder that you—you, of all people!—have had the sex. You have joined the club of sex-havers. Congratulations! Here is some OragelTM, in recognition of this achievement.