A woman identified as Jane Doe is suing Usher for exposing her to the herpes virus—and an STI test reveals that she has contracted the virus as well.
Usher has herpes simplex 2, a condition he recently revealed. Because Doe had unprotected sex with Usher several months ago, she sought testing as soon as she learned the news. She received those results on Saturday and reports being “devastated.”
Originally, Doe sued the R&B singer for $10 million. Now she seeks $20 million for “emotional harm, medical bills, and punitive damages.” Meanwhile, Usher’s team has not issued a comment.
I’m not hear to pass judgment on either Usher or this woman; after all, the details regarding the case are murky. I will say, however, that the enduring stigma attached to sexually transmitted infections and diseases obstructs open dialogues about sexual health. People are far less likely to speak candidly about their sexual history if they fear demonization. Clearly transparency is important to any sexual relationship, and every partner is entitled to it. And while that’s ultimately the responsibility of the individual, we shouldn’t encumber lines of communication with ideologies of slut-shaming and the moral crucifixion of those with STIs or STDs.
Hopefully this case will not be used to buttress unsafe, puritanical rhetoric on sexual behavior, or to shame those who live with herpes or any other sexually transmitted infection or disease. Ideally, it will catalyze a much-needed conversation about sexual stigma, transparency, and health.
We’ve already made the Dorian Gray jokes about Jennifer Lopez, right? Birthday girl, you look stunning.
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