Amid growing controversy, the Center for Disease Control has contacted HipHopWired directly to release a statement on their report that 48% of all Black women have genital herpes.
In an interview with The Root, Dr. John Douglas, the director of the division of STD Prevention at the National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention at the CDC made a statement saying that more Black people are included in their study saying,
“African Americans are also oversampled to make the study more representative.”
He also says the CDC stands firmly behind their findings and that the numbers have remained relatively consistent.
“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.”
The CDC stands behind Dr. John Douglas and his words, they do not however agree with Dr. David Malebranche an assistant professor at Emory whose research focuses on STDs in African Americans.
Dr. Malebranche told The Root, quote:
“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.”
To further make their point, the CDC has released the following statement to HipHopWired making things clear.
“We at CDC want to make it clear that CDC has not changed its position on the recently released HSV-2 data and firmly stands by the important findings of that report based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey – or NHANES — a nationally representative survey of the U.S. household population that assesses a broad range of health issues
2) We also want to make it clear that Dr. David Malebranche, a researcher at Emory University is not a CDC physician or representative and that any comments by Dr. Malebranche cannot be attributed to CDC.
3) It is important to note, that while these findings – particularly the data regarding HSV-2 prevalence among black women – may be startling – they are, in fact, an accurate representation of the prevalence of HSV infection in this population. It is important to note that individuals who test positive for herpes antibodies are in fact, infected. Even without symptoms, infected individuals can spread this lifelong infection to others. The reason for informing the public generally, and African American communities specifically, about this data is so that individuals can take the necessary steps to protect themselves, their partners and their children as well as reduce transmission to others.
4) Finally, it is not acceptable that African-Americans with even low levels of risk behavior face such a high risk of infection, and it is important that they have the information needed to reduce that risk. This latest analysis emphasizes that we can’t afford to be complacent about this infection. Any information that minimizes the severity of this public health challenge does us all a disservice.”