America Catching Up to New York in Herpes

A few years ago, everyone was laughing at New York because it was revealed that fully one in four of us had genital herpes. Well, who's laughing now -- the new national number from the Centers for Disease Control is one in six.

Their data, collected between 2005 to 2008, conforms with previous studies of infection rates of HSV-2, the genital herpes virus. But the number had been going down; now it's stable and likely to skyrocket as Americans try to escape the horrible tedium of the New Depression. New York is, as usual, a trendsetter!

About 48 percent of black women carry the virus, and more than 80 percent of all carriers have no idea, says the CDC -- in part because many, perhaps most, are asymptomatic.

Though some breakthroughs have been recently discovered, like the "RNAi Cocktail" shown to block the virus in mice, herpes is, at present, incurable. The standard antiviral treatment, acyclovir, just shortens the outbreaks (and has recently also proven useful in slowing the progress of HIV).

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