U.S. Herpes Rates Remain High: CDC

JoAnne Allen, Reuters, March 9, 2010

About 16 percent of Americans between the ages of 14 and 49 are infected with genital herpes, making it one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, U.S. health officials said on Tuesday.

Black women had the highest rate of infection at 48 percent and women were nearly twice likely as men to be infected, according to an analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 21 percent of women were infected with genital herpes, compared to only 11.5 percent of men, while 39 percent of blacks were infected compared to about 12 percent for whites, the CDC said.

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Douglas said the increased rate of infection in blacks is not due to increased risk behavior but likely due to biological factors that make women more susceptible as well as the higher rate of infection within black communities.

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