According to new research conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), herpes affects a staggering two thirds of the planet's population under 50 years of age.
The world's leading health authority, who released other shocking research concerning the carcinogenic nature of processed meats earlier in the week, unveiled this new study on Wednesday.
The research indicates that 3.7 billion people under 50 have suffered from the herpes simplex virus tyoe 1 (HSV-1), usually catching it in childhood.
HSV-1 is usually associated with the formation of mouth ulcers, rather than the genital infections associated with HSV-2; however, there now appears to be an increase in HSV-1 genital infections in richer countries.
The development in the virus's severity is due to a higher level of hygiene in richer countries. If HSV-1 isn't contracted during the childhood years in its cold sore form, it leaves adults more vulnerable to contracting it when they become sexually active, leading to genital infection.
Contraction of HSV-2 also has other complications, as it causes encephalitis and increases the chances of catching and transmitting HIV.
Sami Gottlieb, a WHO medical officer, has said the the medical organisation are currently at work trying to find a vaccine against the herpes virus. He said,
We really need to accelerate the development of vaccines against herpes simplex virus, and if a vaccine designed to prevent HSV-2 infection also prevented HSV-1, it would have far-reaching benefits.
Several phase-1 and phase-2 trials for the vaccine are now underway.