Prevalence and Incidence in the United States

According to the Herpesclinic. com (n. d. ), the most prevalent among viral sexually transmitted diseases is genital herpes. It affects one person for every 30 seconds. In fact, the number of cases for genital herpes is more compared to other viral STDs. This just shows how common genital herpes is, especially in the United States. The number of those who were infected increased by 30% between late 1970s and early 1990s (Division of STD Prevention, n. d. ). The National Men’s Resource Center (1996-2006) claimed that the overall incidence of genital herpes is one out of 1,000 people.

The Complete Herpes Information Center (2007) also provided statistics on the incidence of genital herpes. The infection is more common among women. In the United States, one out of five has genital herpes. HSV-2 affects one out of five Americans (45 million individuals). Moreover, genital herpes will likely infect African Americans than White Caucasians. According to the Herpesclinic. com (n. d. ), around 80% of those who are infected with HSV-2 will experience at least one recurrence while around 50% of those infected with HSV-1 will experience one recurrence.

A study by Weinstock, Berman and Cates (2004) showed that genital herpes accounted for a majority of patient requests for the treatment of genital ulcers. Not only that, but genital herpes is also very common outside the United States. They also estimated that there are about 640,000 HSV-2 infection cases every year among youths. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) facilitated the most extensive study which looked into the prevalence of genital herpes in the United States. Samples of blood were drawn from 40,000 people and were tested for medical conditions.

The tests showed that there was a presence of HSV-2, which is the most commonly linked with genital herpes. The results of the NHANES survey for 1991 confirmed that 22% of the U. S. population from age 12 above were infected with HSV-2. But the most surprising finding was that 90% of those who were infected did not know they were infected with HSV-2. Perhaps this is due to the latency of herpes. Latency means the virus stays in the body but does not cause any symptom to appear. Smaller studies were also conducted which showed that between 80 to 90% of those who were infected with HSV-2 did not experience symptoms (Herpesonline.

org, 2002-2007). Bogaerts, et. al (2001) conducted a study about the sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among married women in Bangladesh. The study took a sample of 2335 women and were examined and tested for different diseases, including HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections. Findings showed that HSV-2 infection was prevalent among women who were “at risk. ” Moreover, HSV-2 infection was closely associated with age, syphilis, the husband not at home, unfaithful husband, and a polygamous marriage. Another study showed that 72% of street based sex workers were infected with HSV-2 virus, compared to syphilis (35%) and gonorrhea (25%).

According to Health Central (n. d. ), HSV-2 affects as many as 25% of American adults. Only 10% to 25% of those who have HSV-2 reported that they have genital sores. In most developing countries, genital herpes became the leading cause of genital ulceration, which the study of O’Farrell (1999) found out. The author said that there was a change in the pattern of STI epidemiology when the cases of syphilis and chancroid decreased as a response to HIV control initiatives and improved techniques for diagnosing infection of the herpes virus.

Another finding showed that in countries where there used to be epidemics of heterosexual HIV, the numbers of genital herpes cases increased. Another population-based study in Western and Southern Switzerland showed that genital herpes has also spread in the country. The study found out that HSV-2 was common in Switzerland, and that seroprevalence of the HSV-2 virus depends on certain factors such as sexual promiscuity, race, age and socio-economic level. Seroprevalence accounts for the number of persons who are tested positive for some diseases.

Since HSV-2 causes recurrences of genital symptoms, it is considered the major player in genital herpes. The study also found out that marital status influenced the HSV-2 seroprevalence in the United States and in Switzerland. This shows that a person who is widowed or divorced is at risk of getting infected (Bunzli, et. al, 2004). These findings were similar with the findings of Bogaerts, et. al (2001) study. O’Farrell (1999) recommended that there should be innovative strategies to address the issue on genital herpes as it is a prevalent disease around the world.

These strategies should be sustainable, acceptable, viable and effective. He also suggested that in countries where genital herpes is most common, WHO treatment algorithms must be adapted. Service providers on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) should be properly trained on how the herpes virus is transmitted and how they can best advise those who are infected about dealing with the recurrences of the virus infection. Xu, et. al (1995-2007) remarked that the prevalence of herpes virus declined according to many surveys among teens and young adults.

Two surveys were done between 1988-1994 and 1999-2004, and the finding suggested that the prevalence of both HSV-1 and HSV-2 decreased between the time frames. The study showed that during the first survey, the people with HSV-1 antibodies consisted 62%, which decreased to around 58% when the second survey was conducted. The decrease was notable among teens aged 14 to 19. However, the study also found out that in 1999-2004, many of the respondents from the survey were diagnosed with genital herpes. These respondents were infected with HSV-1 only. This showed that HSV-1 may be prevalent in the United States.

Perhaps genital herpes is one of the subjects that are discussed in secret, especially for those who have it, because it is a sensitive issue. People don’t go around announcing that they have or acquired it. In fact, most people …

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