Youths between the ages 14 and 19 are possibly more susceptible to genital herpes than youths in the past according to a new study. The study showed that youths who had their blood tested between 2005 and 2010 were less likely to have antibodies to the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), which commonly causes cold sores but can also lead to genital herpes. Teens of a different generation who were tested back in 1999 through 2004 had 23 percent more antibodies to the virus.
Researchers suggest that youths may be more susceptible to contracting HSV-1 due to lack of exposure at earlier ages. Because they are not exposed to any level of the virus they don’t build up any antibodies and, when they are exposed during sexually activity, they are more prone to contracting the virus. Those who lack antibodies to HSV-1 may also be more likely to develop symptoms of genital herpes if infected.
All sexually active individuals should receive STD testing whether they engage in oral, anal or vaginal intercourse. Genital herpes may not always show symptoms in every individual who contracts the virus, so it is important to be tested to know one’s sexual health status and possibly prevent further transmission.