(CNN) — Former UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson confirmed reports that four adults have been diagnosed with the herpes simplex virus (HSV), commonly known as the “female version” of genital herpes.
While the symptoms of the virus are not always present, the NHS states that there is a “sexually transmitted version” and recommends that all young women aged 13 to 25 should be tested for the infection.
In a series of tweets on Saturday, Johnson, who resigned from the government in March citing Prime Minister Theresa May’s EU Withdrawal Agreement as “dead on arrival,” wrote that “evidence is mounting” of the virus.
“We knew this already,” he said, adding: “It is thanks to Friday’s reporting of the latest in a line of HSV cases that we now have official confirmation that it exists in the UK. Our government appears to have completely lost its head over this issue.”
Johnson added that news of the virus had led him to reconsider whether he should run for re-election in next year’s general election as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip.
“As you will see from the carefully hedged words I use, any thought of returning to government is now in abeyance,” he said.
“But it’s no use pretending that these stories are not worrying — not for the staff in the newly diagnosed families, the young girls who might have caught it in later life or, worse still, the young men or women who will inevitably have contracted this virus as it passes through sexual relations with someone who has contracted it.”
According to the British Medical Journal (BMJ), HSV1 and HSV2 are caused by the same virus but have different mechanisms of replication and there are different stages of the infection depending on how it is contracted.
The BMJ wrote in 2013 that there are seven million people in the UK infected with either HSV1 or HSV2, accounting for about one in 10 sexually active people, and that the “evidence is mounting” that female herpes simplex virus can be sexually transmitted.