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Herpes More Prevalent Than Thought

Posted - May 24, 2004 at 3:40 p.m.



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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., May 24, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A recent study in relatively affluent suburban areas of six U.S. cities, revealed one in four people carried the virus that causes genital herpes.

This was despite the fact that only 4 percent of all those tested reported a history of the condition.

Genital herpes infection rates were high even among suburban, educated and mid to high income populations, said the study published in this month's issue of Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

"Genital herpes continues to spread because very few people with the virus

know they have it. The prevalence statistics are important for both patients

and doctors because they show that people of all backgrounds are at high risk

for contracting genital herpes," said Peter Leone, lead author of the study and an associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "This is especially important because people can be contagious even when they do not have symptoms of infection."

"The study should encourage everyone to practice safer sex, get tested, and if they are infected learn how to manage the disease," he added.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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