Half the World has the Herpes Simplex Virus: Why It’s Important to Get Tested

Herpes simplex virus, or HSV, falls into two groups: HSV-1 and HSV-2. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), globally, several billion people are living with HSV-1 and half a billion people are living with HSV-2. Given the number of people worldwide who have one form of the herpes simplex virus, ongoing education surrounding these two viruses can play a role in reducing future infections. 

What is HSV-1?

HSV-1 is a virus that leads to cold sores on or around the mouth. Most often, people get HSV-1 during childhood or young adulthood from non-sexual contact with saliva. HSV-1 symptoms can occur periodically, and frequency of sores varies from person to person. In terms of treatment, antiviral medications along with over-the-counter topical remedies can help. 

What is HSV-2?

HSV-2, on the other hand, is a sexually transmitted disease that causes genital herpes. The infection can spread through a herpes sore, genital fluids from a partner with a genital herpes infection, saliva from a partner with an oral herpes infection, and more. Because many people have no or mild symptoms, they often are unaware that they have a herpes infection. 

The Importance of Testing for HSV-2:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends testing for HSV-2 for individuals who are experiencing genital symptoms – such as an “outbreak” that causes blisters – to confirm if they have it. Although there is currently no cure for HSV-2, there are medicines that can help sores heal during an outbreak, lower the frequency of recurrent outbreaks, lessen the severity and duration of symptoms in recurrent outbreaks and reduce the chance of passing the virus to a partner. 

Because there is no cure for HSV-2, better treatment and prevention options are needed to promote and prevent health worldwide. For people who are experiencing symptoms, access to a timely diagnosis is important for not only supporting one’s health, but also for reducing the risk of passing it onto another person. At Cue, we are committed to providing fast, accurate at-home testing and closed-loop care – helping individuals routinely monitor and manage their health from wherever, whenever.

This information is presented in summary form, general in nature, and for informational purposes only. Content is not intended nor recommended to substitute for professional medical advice. For personal medical advice, always consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. The tests offered are subject to change and subject to availability. Due to state restrictions, this Cue Product is not available for individuals located in the state of New York. Other state restrictions may apply for specific tests. Please refer to our support page for detailed product terms and conditions.


  1. https://www.who.int/news/item/01-05-2020-massive-proportion-world-population-living-with-herpes-infection
  2. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/herpes-simplex-virus
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes.htm
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/screening.htm
  5. https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes.htm
  6. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/genital-herpes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20356167

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