TORONTO - A new study suggests that about 14 per cent of Canadians aged 14 to 59 are infected with the herpes simplex type 2 virus.
And it shows that less than one per cent of Canadians in the same age group is infected with chlamydia, another sexually transmitted disease.
Further, the study says that nearly all the people who tested positive were unaware they were infected.
This is the first time prevalence figures for these infections have been available in Canada based on lab-testing of a representative sample of the general population.
Previous estimates have been based on data collected from people who went for testing, or from screening in high-risk populations; basing estimates that way may not provide a true picture of the real rates.
These new rates were generated from the testing of urine and blood samples collected as part of the 2009 to 2011 cycle of the Canadian Health Measures Survey.
With both chlamydia and herpes simplex 2, people infected often have no symptoms, which makes it difficult to estimate how widespread the infections are.
Because this is the first time estimates have been generated this way, it's not possible to say if rates have changed over time. The study, released by Statistics Canada in the April issue of Health Reports, suggests that future cycles of the Canadian Health Measures Survey will flesh out that picture.
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