The internet has been shook over a story that Usher allegedly passed on herpes to a woman and then had to pay damages to her for failure to disclosure his condition. But there is a lot that this scenario doesn't tell us and there are several things that you should know about herpes before you go on a witch hunt for those already infected. Yes, it is an STD, but educating yourself and understanding the source of the stigma is paramount to pushing conversations forward. Let's review what you should know.
Herpes are very common among adults and can be caused by herpes simplex type 1 and 2 (HSV-1, HSV-2). HSV-1 causes cold sores on the mouth or face and can be transmitted to one's genitals by oral/genital sex. HSV-2 is genital herpes and is usually caused by HSV-1 herpes.
1 in 3 people have the virus that causes herpes. Oral herpes is much more common, affecting around 80 percent of people, while 40 percent of genital herpes is caused by HSV-1 herpes.
Not everyone who is infected is aware that they have herpes. The symptoms might be very mild or not present at all.
There is no cure for herpes, but there is effective treatment. Daily medications are available to help prevent recurrences and transmission of the virus.
A lot of people think that using protection during sex is going to prevent you from getting herpes. While you should always use protection, it's important to note condoms won't prevent the transfer of the disease. It certainly reduces the chances, but does not eliminate them.
Herpes sores are very mild and can often be mistaken for insect bites, abrasions, yeast infection or jock itch.
The herpes virus does not cause infertility in men or women. Women with herpes can have normal pregnancies and births, although it is important to note that herpes can be passed to your baby. While rare, there is a possibility, and you should always consult with a physician if you or your partner have herpes and are expecting a child.
The herpes virus is not present in blood. A common myth is that people with herpes cannot donate blood, but in fact, they can. Herpes can only be passed through direct skin-to-skin contact.
A person who is infected with herpes might not actually be able to pass it to someone else. If there were no symptoms of herpes, that usually means the virus was shed from the skin and you are not infectious.
A person with HSV-2 can have four to five outbreaks per year, but a person with HSV-1 is subject to less than one outbreak per year.
(Photo: Robert Kamau/GC Images)
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