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    More teens lack HSV-1 antibodies



    An increasing number of American adolescents lack herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1 antibodies, making them more susceptible to genital herpes following sexual debut, according to a recent study in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

    Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to look at the seroprevalence of HSV-1 and HSV-2 among 14- to 49-year-olds in the United States. They estimated seroprevalence in 1999 to 2004 and 2005 to 2010, while also reviewing HSV-1 and HSV-2 seroprevalence from 1976 to 1980 and 2005 to 2010.

    From 2005 to 2010, HSV-1 seroprevalence was 53.9% and HSV-2 seroprevalence was 15.7%. Seroprevalence for HSV-1 declined by nearly 7% (P<.01) from 1999-2004 to 2005-2010, but HSV-2 prevalence showed no significant change. The seroprevalence of HSV-1 declined by nearly 23% from 1999-2004 to 2005-2010 in adolescents aged 14 to 19 years. From 1976-1980 to 2005-2010, HSV-1 seroprevalence declined >29% (P< .01).

    The investigators concluded that a sizeable portion of adolescents lack HSV-1 antibodies at the time of their sexual debut. Without a decline in HSV-2 infections, they cautioned that the prevalence of genital herpes could increase. The increasing number of adolescents participating in oral sex makes this trend particularly worrisome.



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    Miranda Hester
    Ms. Hester is Content Specialist with Contemporary OB/GYN and Contemporary Pediatrics.


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