Posted on May 06, 2022, 2 p.m.
STDcheck.com, which has provided fast, private, and affordable STD tests to more than 2 million people since 2010, today announced that New Orleans is the U.S. city with the highest prevalence of genital herpes.
Through partnerships with various nonprofits and educational institutes, STDcheck.com tested over 130,000 people for genital herpes last year. Data shows New Orleans has a 20.4% prevalence rate – this is higher than 30 other metropolitan areas across the country and 30% higher than the national average of 15.7%. This makes New Orleans the highest in the nation for genital herpes diagnosis.
The top 5 metropolitan areas with the highest rates of genital herpes were reported as being Salt Lake City with a prevalence rate of 19.2%, Cincinnati at 19.1%, Charlotte at 19%, and Orlando also at 19%.
“New Orleans could be on the precipice of having a public health crisis due to the high spread of genital herpes in the city. We cannot stress enough that sexually active people use protection to avoid contracting an STD,” said Dr. David Jayne, the Medical Director of STDcheck.com.
In addition, the prevalence rate of New Orleans drastically increased 57% over the last three years, from just 13.1% in 2019. As of yet, there is no definitive cure for this disease, but there are many efforts to curtail the spread of it. Testing is just one way to ensure you have not been infected or will know what steps to take next if you have. Our team of medical professionals can advise on preventative measures to take to stop the spread of herpes. A diagnosis of herpes doesn’t have to be the end of your sex life. Get tested today through our private testing labs.
“Unprotected sex is dangerous and people need to know if they have been exposed to prevent more severe health problems,” said Dr. Jayne. “We understand that deciding to get tested for an STD is difficult. Rest assured that our high-quality tests are the best in medical testing. There is no paperwork to fill out or questions to answer at the testing center.”
With over 4,500 test centers nationwide, STDcheck.com is the leading STD testing resource in the U.S and the only one that tests for all common sexually transmitted diseases with a 10-test panel, including HIV 1 & 2 antibody (4th generation), syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and herpes 1 & 2.
STDCHECK.com is a subsidiary of Analyte Health and conducts its testing through a partnership with major laboratories, such as LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics, which are all CLIA-certified.
What happens in New Orleans Doesn’t Stay There: the unwanted gift that keeps on giving
Dormant herpesviruses induce their reactivation via a previously unknown cellular mechanism mediated by a viral microRNA. Würzburg researchers show this in the journal "Nature".
Eight different herpes viruses are known to date in humans. They all settle down permanently in the body after acute infection. Under certain circumstances, they wake up from this dormant phase, multiply and attack other cells. This reactivation is often associated with symptoms, such as itchy cold sores or shingles.
In the course of evolution, most herpesviruses have learned to use small RNA molecules, so-called microRNAs, to reprogram their host cells to their advantage. A research team led by Bhupesh Prusty and Lars Dölken from Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) Würzburg in Bavaria, Germany, has now been able to show for the first time that a viral microRNA acts as a master regulator to induce the reactivation of the virus. In the journal Nature, the researchers present the previously unknown cellular mechanism by which human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) triggers its own awakening.
Problems after reactivation of the virus
More than 90 percent of all people are infected with HHV-6 without noticing it. The virus probably only causes problems when it wakes up repeatedly.
HHV-6 reactivation is suspected of impairing heart function, causing the rejection of transplanted organs and triggering diseases such as multiple sclerosis or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). In addition, recent studies suggest that this herpesvirus may be involved in the development of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other diseases of the nervous system.
"How herpesviruses reactivate from a dormant state is the central question in herpesvirus research," says JMU virologist Lars Dölken. "If we understand this, we know how to intervene therapeutically." A previously unknown key to this is a viral microRNA called miR-aU14. It is the central switch that initiates the reactivation of HHV-6.
What the microRNA does in the cell
The regulatory miR-aU14 comes from the virus itself. As soon as it is expressed, it interferes with the metabolism of human microRNAs. In doing so, it selectively interferes with the maturation of several microRNAs of the miR-30 family. As a result, these important cellular microRNAs are no longer produced. This in turn affects a cellular signaling pathway, the so-called miR-30 / p53 / Drp1 axis.
Through this pathway, the viral miR-aU14 induces mitochondrial fragmentation. These cell structures are of central importance for energy production, but also for signal transmissions in the defense against viruses.
The viral miR-aU14 thus interferes with the production of type I interferons – messenger substances with which the cell signals the presence of viruses to the immune system. Because the interferons are missing, the herpesvirus is able to switch from a dormant to an active state undisturbed. Interestingly, the Würzburg research group was also able to show that the viral microRNA is not only essential for virus replication, but also directly triggers the reactivation of the virus from its dormant state.
How the research continues
The researchers now want to understand the exact mechanism by which the viral microRNA initiates the reactivation of the virus. In addition, there are first indications that other herpesviruses can also be reactivated via the same mechanism. This could reveal therapeutic options to either prevent reactivation of these viruses or to specifically trigger it in order to then eliminate the reactivating cells. Another goal is to understand the molecular consequences of mitochondrial fragmentation in detail.
For the first time, this work from Würzburg shows that a microRNA can directly regulate the maturation process of other microRNAs. This also opens up new therapeutic possibilities: Artificial small RNAs can be designed to specifically switch off individual members of microRNA families. Such subtle interventions were not possible until now.
Cooperation partners and sponsors
Several groups at JMU are conducting interdisciplinary research on this topic. They come from the Institute of Virology and Immunobiology, the Biocentres' Chairs of Biochemistry, Biotechnology and Biophysics, and Microbiology, the Rudolf Virchow Centre and the Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research. Researchers from the Free University of Berlin and the University of Regensburg were also involved.
The research was funded by the Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research, the Solve ME/CFS Initiative (USA), the HHV-6 Foundation (USA), the Amar Foundation (USA) and by the European Research Council within the framework of an ERC grant.
U.S. Metropolitan Areas With The Highest Genital Herpes Rates:
- New Orleans-Metairie, La. (20.4%)
- Salt Lake City, Utah (19.2%)
- Cincinnati, Ohio (19.1%)
- Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, N.C. (19.0%)
- Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla. (19.0%)
- San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, Calif. (18.9%)
- Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev. (18.7%)
- St. Louis, Mo. (18.3%)
- Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore. (18.1%)
- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (18.0%)
- New York-Newark-Jersey City, N.Y.-N.J. (18.0%)
- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Ill. (18.0%)
- Raleigh-Cary, N.C. (17.9%)
- San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, Calif. (17.8%)
- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (17.7%)
- Washington D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria, Va. (17.6%)
- Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind. (17.5%)
- Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. (17.4%)
- Oklahoma City, Okla. (17.4%)
- Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del. (17.4%)
- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn. (17.4%)
- Jacksonville, Fla. (17.3%)
- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (17.1%)
- Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, Calif. (16.9%)
- Columbus, Ohio (16.9%)
- Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass. (16.9%)
- Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, Ariz. (16.9%)
- San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas (16.6%)
- Milwaukee-Waukesha, Wis. (16.5%)
- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash. (16.5%)
- Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, Ga. (16.1%)
- Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md. (16.0%)
- Kansas City, Mo. (15.7%)
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. (15.4%)
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before making any changes to your wellness routine.
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