My Thoughts on Usher’s Herpes Lawsuit

Hi everyone! I took fifteen minutes tonight to talk on Facebook Live about the developing Usher herpes lawsuit situation. This is a complicated story where no one wins: non-disclosure laws are proven to be bad public health policy, but not disclosing to your partners that you have herpes (especially to young female fans who you aren’t using condoms with) is a deeply unethical thing to do. To make a bad situation worse, the ongoing coverage of this story is also steeped in racism and fat shaming. There are no clear takeaways and everything is garbage.

This is a rough time for our herpes community and I hope you all know that you are loved, valuable, desirable and so much more than your STIs. This is why we fight STI stigma. This is why we do the work. If you were given herpes by a partner who didn’t disclose to you, or if you’ve transmitted herpes to a partner when you didn’t know your status, I’m so sorry that you’ve been bombarded by this upsetting story for the last few weeks. I’ve found it triggering, as have many of my friends. You’re not alone.

Please share your thoughts in the comments! I’ll be moderating heavily but would love to hear perspectives from within the herpes community on this story as it evolves. Here’s a link to to the article in Cassius Magazine that I mentioned in the Live. Here’s a link to listen to my episode of Whoreible Decisions where I talk to Mandii B and WeezyWTF about herpes and this Usher story. If there are other stories you recommend that we read, share those in the comments as well.

Sending everyone love and strength,


RELATED: Herpes disclosure is very necessary and very complicated.

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Ella Dawson is a rowdy millennial who cares too much about The Bachelor. Her passions include sexual health and education, feminist erotica and social media.

4 thoughts on “My Thoughts on Usher’s Herpes Lawsuit

  1. You said that hsv1 is the “lazy strain of herpes.” I have had genital hsv 1 for 10 years. In the beginning my outbreaks were less frequent, but i definitely had more than 2. I now have to take valtrex every day because 10 years later it wont leave me alone. So, lazy strain it is not. How will this single girl not give this to anyone. I havent had sex in years. Too much shame, too much fear, too much viral activity.

  2. I saw your video. Thank you so much for all you do. I feel like the artist should have known much better and I hope that he pays dearly for the lives he has changed for not disclosing his status.

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