How do I see if a Perl hash already has a key?

I have a Perl script that is counting the number of occurrences of various strings in a text file. I want to be able to check if a certain string is not yet a key in the hash. Is there a better way of doing this altogether?

Here is what I am doing:

foreach $line (@lines){
    if(($line =~ m|my regex|) )
    {
        $string = $1;
        if ($string is not a key in %strings) # "strings" is an associative array
        {
            $strings{$string} = 1;
        }
        else
        {
            $n = ($strings{$string});
            $strings{$string} = $n +1;
        }
    }
}
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