You may not have this disease, but there’s a good chance you have its virus Associated Press
This Wednesday, March 11, 2015 photo shows the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters building in Geneva, Switzerland.

Sure, everybody gets colds, and many people have had the flu at some point in the last five years.

But did you know that just about everybody has herpes?

According to a recent World Health Organization report, one version of the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1) affects 3.7 billion people. Look to your left, look to your right; two out of every three people has it.

This is not the sexually transmitted disease we are talking about. That is less common, but still growing, and the WHO actually is worried that people’s awareness of HSV-1 (the one known for cold sores) could actually make HSV-2 (the kind that affects your genitals) a lot more common.

A lot of people get HSV-1 when they are children from kisses from people with cold sores. Many never actually get symptoms but can be carriers. Plus, they get to build up some resistance.

According to a recent Washington Post article about the new numbers, a lot of people don’t know they have herpes, which means they don’t know they need to be cautious about spreading the disease. Even those who have had a bunch of STD tests may not have had the test unless they were showing symptoms.

HSV is incurable, so it can be a big deal, and it makes it easier to transmit HIV. So doctors stress the need for protection, whether you know you have the disease or not. Be safe, everyone.

Author placeholder image About the author:
Lilee Williams is a freelance journalist and scientific study junkie based in Georgia. Email her at
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