Reports that allege famed singer Usher Raymond paid more than $1 million to a woman after giving her genital herpes, a sexually transmitted disease, left many asking questions about the star, the news leak and the medical condition.
For clarity, federal Health Insurance Probability and Accountability (HIPAA) laws prohibit the communication of health status, including diagnosis, treatment and any findings of a patient to anyone who is not in direct medical care of a patient. Medical history is private and confidential and should not be shared for any reason other than helping the patient and assisting in their care.
While many people are surprised about the singer’s rumored condition, there are countless others worried about individuals gaining access to their personal medical records—generally speaking, it’s illegal. Still, Usher’s potential case serves as a reminder of the prevalence of STDs and the importance of having protected sex.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of six people, ages 14 to 49, has genital herpes. The stigma of the condition can be overwhelming (hence the current headlines) and emphasis should be placed on education and prevention of the spread of the disease.
Here’s what you should know about genital herpes:
- According to the CDC, 50 million people in the U.S. are living with genital herpes with 3 million new cases per year. Approximately 80 percent of people with genital herpes do not know they are infected.
- There is no cure for the disease. However, people affected can live normal lives and participate in healthy sexual activities.
- Symptoms for the condition include “outbreaks” of blisters, fever, body aches and swollen glands. However, some individuals with the condition may never show signs. A blood test can detect the virus.
- Women with herpes can have healthy babies. Normal vaginal deliveries are not advised during an outbreak. In such cases, doctors use a Cesarean section (C-section) for the infant’s safety.
- Herpes is a part of the Varicella virus family, which includes chicken pox, herpes simplex 1 (HSV-1, cold sores), and shingles. Although in the same family, all Varicella viruses are transmitted differently.
- Treatment of genital herpes includes anti-retro viral medication taken in pill or liquid form. Your doctor may give you the choice of suppressive therapy (one pill daily to prevent outbreaks) or outbreak therapy (a five- to 10-day-course of medication when an outbreak may occur).
- Medical diagnosis, treatment and prognosis are confidential and personal. It is the responsibility of those engaging in sexual contact to disclose anything that might harm his or her partner.