CityPress - - News - ZINHLE MAPUMULO zinhle.mapumulo@city­

One would have thought that Grammy Award-win­ning singer Usher would have learnt from his pre­vi­ous mis­takes and taken pre­cau­tions to pro­tect his sex­ual part­ners from her­pes.

Now an­other woman is su­ing him for mil­lions of dol­lars for al­legedly in­fect­ing her with gen­i­tal her­pes, a sex­ual trans­mit­ted dis­ease. The woman claims the You Got It Bad singer didn’t tell her he had her­pes be­fore hav­ing un­pro­tected sex with her three months ago.

But what pre­cau­tions should Usher have taken? Dr Sandile Ma­suku said the R&B sen­sa­tion could have taken her­pes treat­ment such as acy­clovir and used con­doms con­sis­tently to re­duce the risk of pass­ing the dis­ease on.

How­ever, “even if he had fol­lowed those pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures, there are no guar­an­tees that his part­ner would have been en­tirely pro­tected,” Ma­suku said.

“Gen­i­tal her­pes is a viral in­fec­tion which can be spread through hav­ing vag­i­nal, anal, or oral sex with some­one who al­ready has the dis­ease. The trans­mis­sion hap­pens when the in­fected per­son has an open sore and the flu­ids which carry the virus are passed on to his or her part­ner dur­ing in­ter­course.

“But in some cases it can also be trans­mit­ted from an in­fected sex part­ner who does not have a vis­i­ble sore, or who may not know he or she is in­fected, be­cause the virus can be re­leased through the skin. Viruses are very small and can spread through mi­cro­scopic breaks in the skin.”

This means that even if Usher didn’t have open sores he could have trans­mit­ted her­pes to his part­ners Tri­chomonas is ca­pa­ble of surv­ing for some hours out­side the body in bod­ily flu­ids, damp tow­els or bed­ding in rare cases. It has been known to be spread by mu­tual mas­tur­ba­tion A per­son can ac­quire these from bed­ding, cloth­ing or toi­let seats, and in­stances of sca­bies in­fec­tion through con­tam­i­nated clothes or bed­ding have been doc­u­mented with­out their know­ing. He knew as early as 2010 that he had gen­i­tal her­pes – a virus which re­mains in the body caus­ing symp­toms to flare up every now and then – which is prob­a­bly why he is get­ting lit­tle sym­pa­thy from his fans.

Peo­ple mag­a­zine re­ported the Con­fes­sions singer al­legedly con­tracted her­pes be­tween 2009 and 2010, around the time he be­gan di­vorce pro­ceed­ings from his first wife, Tameka Fos­ter. In court pa­pers it was re­vealed that he paid a woman he had sex with $1.1 mil­lion

(R14.8 mil­lion) in an out-of-court set­tle­ment in 2012, af­ter she sued him for giv­ing her her­pes.

In Cal­i­for­nia, it is il­le­gal to “know­ingly or reck­lessly” trans­mit a sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted dis­ease. In South Africa it’s not, but Ma­suku says it’s only fair to pro­tect those you love. “Us­ing con­doms and tak­ing her­pes treat­ment is the best way you can re­duce your chances of pass­ing the virus on to your part­ner,” he said. “But peo­ple should be mind­ful that pro­tec­tion of­fered by con­doms is much more ef­fec­tive at pre­vent­ing male to fe­male in­fec­tions than fe­male to male in­fec­tions.”


SINGING THE BLUES R&B singer Usher per­form­ing at Or­lando Sta­dium in Soweto. The singer is fac­ing a mas­sive law­suit

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