Fear Of HIV May Have Caused Reduction Of Herpes Cases - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/23/06-Tyler

Fear Of HIV May Have Caused Reduction Of Herpes Cases

Since the sexual revolution of the 70's, the occurence of herpes has been skyrocketing. A 1997 study by the CDC found a 30% increase over three decades. The results released today suggest the upward trend is reversing.

Since 1994, the rate of infection in adult Americans age 19 to 49 has dropped by 19%.

UT Health Center's Dr. Richard Wallace sees a number of herpes cases every year and says those numbers are not surprising.

"I think HIV finally has frightened people enough to realize that they need to practice safe sex," says Wallace.

Another thing Dr. Wallace thinks is at-play is symptom management. Herpes is most contagious during an outbreak, so medicines reducing those outbreaks should help prevent transmission.

Physicians are encouraged by the results of the study for a number of different reasons. Not only are they hoping the reduction in risky behavior will lead to fewer occurences of herpes, but of other sexually transmitted diseases as well.

"Gonorrhoea, syphillis, clamydia, papilloma virus which causes cervical cancer. The potential is that all of those may go down, especially with the use of condoms and safer sex," says Wallace.

The decrease of type 2 herpes cases was not uniform across the board. The rates are disproportionately high in women and black people.

Even though the numbers are dropping, physicians warn type 2 herpes is still a huge problem. They say people must continue to be vigilant about safe sex if they want to protect themselves.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com

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