R. Kelly Allegedly Knowingly Transmitted Herpes to Victims

R. Kelly
R. Kelly
Image: Getty

R. Kelly is a man with a long, long, long, long list of legal woes, predominantly related to alleged sex crimes involving minors, who is prone to having complete breakdowns on TV when asked about his case.


Now, according to TMZ, in addition to the charges already raised against him, legal documents they obtained show Kelly has been accused of knowingly transmitting herpes to two women, one of whom was underage at the time of their encounter. He’s also been accused of coercion and transporting a minor across state lines.

According to Kelly’s lawyer Doug Anton, there is “zero evidence” Kelly knew he had herpes, which honestly just doesn’t seem very likely. Anton also said earlier that the “experts” they “intend to retain” would corroborate his claim that “that the first lesson of herpes transmission is that there is pretty much no way to know who gave who herpes.”

I certainly don’t know if that’s the first lesson of herpes transmission, but even if it was it would do nothing to relieve Kelly of his responsibility for knowingly passing it on.

I would argue that the first lesson of herpes transmission is to be aware of your status and to get tested regularly, especially considering that STIs are on the rise. I would also say to be respectful of the way we engage in conversation around the topic so as not to further perpetuate stigma around infection, but that’s just me.

freelance writer living in San Francisco. Please clap.



Far be it from me to defend R. Kelley. He totally needs to have the book thrown at him. On this one though, maybe. 60% of adults over 40 in US have Herpes 1, and about a 1/4 have 2. Many have either had a minor case or no case at all. As a doc, it’s a very open question as to whether to test for herpes when doing “routine” STI testing. Basically one needs to assume your partners is herpes positive.

The whole underage/non consent stuff is a totally different story