The 'Big Apple' - not the place to be sassy and single!

According to official statistics, living in New York City is risky in more ways than one.

A study by New York City Department of Health has revealed that 26 percent of the people living there are infected with the virus which causes genital herpes.

It also revealed that far more women than men have the virus and among African-Americans the rate is almost 50 percent.

With one in every four New Yorkers infected with the sexually transmitted herpes simplex virus type 2, the 'Big Apple' is clearly not the place to be 'sassy' and single.

Experts say most people infected with HSV-2 have no symptoms, but those that do experience periodic outbreaks of painful blisters and sores in or around the genitals that can take weeks to heal.

They say while genital herpes alone will not cause serious problems for most people, the painful genital sores suffered by some foster infection and the spread of HIV.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about 45 million Americans carry the herpes virus, which the CDC says makes people more susceptible to HIV and those carrying the AIDS virus more infectious.

Julia Schillinger, director of surveillance for the Health Department's Bureau of Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention and Control has urged New Yorkers to protect themselves and others by using condoms consistently, which help avoid contracting or spreading genital herpes.

New York City has 19.3 million residents and received 65,000 reports of sexually transmitted diseases in 2007.

Authorities say 48 million free condoms have been handed out since 2007 to help curb infection rates.

The findings were collected in 2004 from interviews and medical exams of 1,784 New Yorkers as part of the city's Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and are the first measurement of the city's genital herpes infection rate.

They are published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

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