Science Daily (10.17.2013)
Aids Weekly Plus
Researchers have found that many US adolescents do not have antibodies to help protect them from herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) which causes cold sores and can cause genital herpes. This virus, as well as HSV-2, cannot be cured but can have dormant periods.
Heather Bradley, PhD, and CDC colleagues used National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys data to investigate HSV-1 and HSV-2 prevalence in 14–49-year-olds in the United States. The researchers estimated antibody prevalence for HSV-1 and HSV-2 for all age groups from 2005 to 2010 and compared it to that from 1999 to 2004. They also examined previous HSV-1 and HSV-2 trends.
Results showed an overall HSV-1 seroprevalence of 54 percent during 2005 to 2010, but HSV-1 seroprevalence declined by approximately 23 percent from 1999 to 2004 in 14–19-year-olds compared to 2005 to 2010. HSV-1 seroprevalence declined in 20–29-years-olds by more than 9 percent but remained stable in 30- and 40-year-olds. HSV-2 seroprevalence was not different across the age groups in the two time periods.
Findings suggested that a number of US adolescents did not have HSV-1 antibodies the first time they had sexual intercourse, which made them more susceptible to genital herpes caused by the HSV-1 strain. Also, with the popularity of oral sex among youth, they might be more likely than youth in the previous time periods to acquire genital HSV-1.
The full report, “Seroprevalence of Herpes Simplex Virus Types 1 and 2—United States, 1999–2010,” was published online in the Journal of Infectious Diseases (2013; doi:10.1093/infdis/jit458).