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When the CDC sent out a report that seemed to say that nearly ½ of all Black women were infected with genital herpes people were shocked and outraged by the damning data.

Now however the CDC is clarifying their information.

48% of the Black women they tested were positive for exposure to herpes but not the disease itself in a study of just 5,000 women.

The Root reports that the CDC’s data came from the National Health and Nutrition Survey or (NHANES) of 5,000 randomly selected women.

Dr. John Douglas, the director of the division of STD Prevention at the National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention at the CDC also says that more Black people were tested in the study than any other group to make it more “representative.”


He tells The Root,

“African Americans are also oversampled to make the study more representative.”

He also adds that the numbers from the testing have remained relatively consistent for years.

“The herpes numbers for black women have remained relatively the same over several years at 46 percent to 51 percent. In the 1988-94 NHANES sample, the prevalence of herpes among black women was 51.3 percent, in the 2004 survey the number was 46.1 percent. That places the current rate–48 percent–right in the middle. NHANES is less than perfect, but without a doubt the best that we have.”

Dr. David Malebranche an assistant professor at Emory whose research focuses on STDs in African Americans further clarified the CDC’s data to The Root saying,

“These women were only tested for antibodies to the HSV-2 virus. This means that they have been exposed to the herpes virus, but it does not mean that these women have actually developed the disease or have active herpes. In fact, they may never develop active herpes.”

So according to the CDC 48% of Black women have been exposed to the Herpes virus but may not have the disease although they tested only 5,000 women in a study overly populated with African Americans.