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According to the CDC, the virus which causes genital herpes, HSV-2, has a relatively short incubation period, just from 2-12 days for symptoms to show. However many people may have symptoms so minor they might not realize they have it. (Apparently you can also get HSV-1 in your genital area, that’s the herpes virus which causes cold sores on the mouth and which most people have, from mouth to genital contact. Again that is a different virus.) Also according to the CDC “there is no commercially available test to determine if a herpes infection in one individual was acquired from another specific person.” Basically a person with genital herpes has no medical way to prove who infected them, assuming they had more than one partner in the incubation window, if they even know when that was.
That’s all preface to this story about the lawsuit filed against Usher by three plaintiffs who claim to have had unprotected ith the singer after 2012 and to have meber been informed that he had genital herpes. The complainants claim to have learned about Usher’s herpes infection when the news leaked that he was successfully sued in 2012 for infecting a partner. We heard on Sunday that there would be a press conference with the celebrity lawyer representing the plaintiffs, Lisa Bloom, and also that Bloom would have one of her clients with her. Bloom had a 21 year-old woman named Quantasia Sharpton with her at the press conference Monday morning. (You can watch the whole press conference here on Youtube.) Sharpton claims that Usher picked her out at one of his shows two years ago, when she was there with friends celebrating her 19th birthday. She said that she had sexual contact with Usher that night after he contacted her at her hotel. Sharpton said Usher did not discuss his STD status with her at the time. She’s since had a baby, she acknowledges that she doesn’t have genital herpes, and said she contacted Lisa Bloom after learning Usher was infected “to know what my rights are as a woman.” She said she would never have consented to sex with Usher if she would have known he was HSV-2 positive and feels that her rights were violated.
All of Bloom’s clients claim they had unprotected sex with Usher since 2012 and that none of them were informed by Usher about his alleged herpes I’m bolding that because it was a detail mentioned in the question and answer section afterwards that should have been included in the main press conference.
Bloom made the point in the press conference that Usher has not confirmed nor denied the reports that he spread herpes knowingly to a partner, as per the 2012 lawsuit. She also said he allegedly violated the rights of her clients, “at least one of [whom] has tested positive for the virus,” by not informing them of his herpes diagnosis. That client who tested positive “alleges that it was Mr. Raymond who transmitted it.” She would not state whether it was a male or female client.
Bloom seeks in the lawsuit, filed on behalf of two women and one man, for Usher to state whether he is HSV-2 negative or positive. She said that “many people have reached out to me claiming that they had unprotected sex with Mr. Raymond since 2012, fearful that he may have transmitted the virus to them. They have been anxious, fearful and missed work to undergo medical testing. Mr. Raymond has not reached out to any of them.” Usher always called his partners from a blocked number so they have no way to reach him. Bloom wants Usher to either make a public statement or to contact his partners to put them at ease. Since announcing the lawsuit, Bloom claims that more of Usher’s past sex partners have reached out to her.
As for the damages that Usher may owe partners he didn’t inform but didn’t infect, Bloom cited a Rock Hudson case from the 80s. A former sex partner of Hudson’s, Marc Christian, successfully sued the Hudson estate for millions. Christian’s lawsuit claimed that Hudson had sex with him for years without letting Christian know that he was HIV positive. Christian found out on the news a few months before Hudson died that Hudson was suffering from AIDs. Christian never contracted HIV but was understandably devastated.
Usher was legally obligated under California law, and under the rules of common decency, to disclose his STD status to new partners. It was careless and cruel for him not only to not tell his partners but to not use condoms. Now that I watched the press conference and have heard the details I understand the anguish that this causes people and do think Usher violated these partners’ rights. However it may be hard to prove that Usher is the one who spread genital herpes to Bloom’s client who tested positive for it. I would be interested to hear if any more of Usher’s past partners test positive. You can bet Usher is getting a team of lawyers together now. He’s not going to come clean about his herpes status, he’s going to lawyer up.
Photos credit: WENN and Pacific Coast news