Re: how common is herpes?
I am from the UK and I can tell you that our herpes type 2 (which causes most genital herpes and a minority of oral herpes) statistics are for some reason, significantly lower than the US (i.e. 8-12% rather than the US's 17-25%) but that our herpes type 1 (which causes most oral herpes and a minority - though an increasing number - of genital herpes cases) is the same or even higher than the US (studies show anywhere between 40-90%).
The reason why you hardly ever see people with cold sores, other than the fact say perhaps only 50% of people have the virus causing them, are twofold:
1. Most of those with oral herpes do not get any outbreaks at all. My mother, father, my sister, my girlfriend, my best friend and I all have oral herpes, I know for a fact. My sister never gets outbreaks. My Dad gets one about every five years. My girlfriend has had one the entire time I have known her (about two years). And my best friend says she had one bad outbreak as a child and has never had any since. My best friend's experience is very common - most people with HSV1 have had one outbreak as a child and then never get any others. A lot of people will swear blind to never having had an outbreak - it's more likely they don't remember one from when they were a toddler, as most people WILL break out at least once.
2. Some people's oral herpes outbreaks are very mild. Now whilst my mother is unlucky enough to get oral herpes outbreaks once a month which occur on the edge of her lips and are very visible, I get about one oral herpes outbreak a year consisting of tiny, miniscule yellow bumps which are usually on the fleshy part of my lips. You can only see them if you are looking for them and are very close! - if you sat across an office, train, desk from me etc, you probably wouldn't be able to see them.
You say you have never met anyone with herpes - you will, I can guarantee you, have met PLENTY of people with herpes - particularly type 1. They probably don't know it, though. 90% of those with type 1 they don't get regular outbreaks. If you took everyone you had met ever (!) to be blood tested for herpes, the chances are that 40%, if not more of them, would test positive for type 1. It's one of the world's most common viruses. A few people would test positive for type 2, too, as a lot of those with this virus have no idea they have it either. Plus, a lot of people who DO know that they have herpes won't discuss it, or admit to it!
Last edited by beaker24; 03-10-2005 at 10:47 AM.