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Globally, an estimated two-thirds of the population under 50 are infected with herpes simplex virus type 1

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.

Herpes simplex virus is categorized into 2 types: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are highly infectious and incurable. HSV-1 is primarily transmitted by oral-oral contact and in most cases causes orolabial herpes or “cold sores” around the mouth. HSV-2 is almost entirely sexually transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, causing genital herpes.

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