Boy oh boy do you guys love this post about who in Hollywood has the herp (allegedly)!
I loves me some gossip, too. I just had no idea how insanely popular these few posts would end up being. I'm not even lying when I say a third of all my blog traffic goes directly to Hollywood and herpes.
I originally blogged about this topic back in January of 2010 and again in November of 2011.
I'm trying to balance the gossipy tone of the overall post with some important and reputable information on Herpes.
I've decided to bring it back because of the semi-recent multi-million dollar lawsuit brought against an "A list" actor who allegedly infected his sexual partner during a debauched weekend in Las Vegas. Apparently, not everything that happens in Vegas (like herpes) stays in Vegas.
I'm not sure if the $20 million lawsuit was ever settled, as there doesn't appear to be much current information on the case.
There is some legal precedent when it comes to one person successfully suing the person who transmitted the herpes virus to them. Thomas Redmond is a multi-millionaire and the founder and creator of the "Aussie" haircare products. His lover (who was 20 years younger than him) successfully sued him to the tune of somewhere between $4.3 million and $6.7 million. Other famous celebrities who have been sued for transmitting the herpes virus to their partners are:
- Tony Bennett was sued for $90 million. He later provided medical records showing he was herpes free and counter-sued the woman for defamation and $100 million. Unfortunately, there seems to be little information on how, when, and for how much the claim was settled.
- Robin Williams was sued for $6.2 million. He later settled out of court.
- Michael Vick (yeah, that dog dude) was sued for an unknown amount. He later settled out of court.
Herpes is one of the most prevalent and contagious viral STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) in the world. It is caused by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2) infection.
How many people have it?
In the US alone, it is reported that at least 45 million over the age of 12 have had genital HSV infection. Genital HSV-2 is much more common in women (about 1 out of 4 women) than in men (about 1 out of 8).
Most people who have herpes have NO or only minimal signs or symptoms. Common signs typically appear as one of more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum. The blisters can commonly be misdiagnosed as ingrown hair follicles or a rash. If the blisters break, they will leave sores that usually take between 2 to 4 weeks to heal and clear. Subsequent outbreaks tend to be less severe and last shorter then the first noticeable outbreak.
People who have herpes often report feeling that "tell tale" tingling just prior to experiencing an outbreak or "shedding". From a public health standpoint, medical providers USED to say that this is the time to totally avoid sexual contact. More recently, newer infections have been reported during non-shedding times as the infection stays indefinitely in the body.
Here are some ways you can NOT get herpes:
- toilet seats
Here is how to test for herpes:
- blood test
- visual inspection during an outbreak
- swab test
The most common treatment for herpes is a combination of antiviral and suppressive medications like Valtrex.
Being that it is so prevalent, there are MANY Hollywood celebrities who allegedly have herpes. I'm an admitted celebrity gossip whore, and these are the people I know of (allegedly). Remember that this information is *alleged*, so it would be great if you don't sue me. I've searched wide and far for supportive evidence that suggests the following people have Herpes (allegedly):
- Janet Jackson
- Robin WIlliams (see above)
- Jeff Goldbloom**
- Derek Jeter who allegedly gave it to (along with many others)
- Jessica Alba
- Paris Hilton (duh!)
- Victoria "Posh" Beckham
- Lindsay Lohan
- Alyssa Milano
- Britney Spears
- Katie Holmes
- Billy Idol
- Fred Durst
- Tony Bennett (see above)
- Michael Vick (see above)
- Brad Pitt
- David Beckham
- Orlando Bloom
- Colin Farrell
- Dennis Rodman
- Liza (with a "Z") Minnelli
- David Hasselhoff
- Anne Heche
- Sheryl Crow
- Kim Kardashian
- 50 cent
- Chelsea Handler--I have to totally love her for freely admitting to having the herp & and for joking about it in skits saying "cut that part out, ok. I don't want people knowing I have herpes"
- Jessica Biel
- Mischa Barton
**Allegedly, they pass it along freely with out informing potential sex partners
I'm a huge advocate of people knowing their HIV/STI status--remember if you reside in the SF Bay Area and need someone to go with you for testing, I'm your girl!
I'm also a huge advocate of people talking about their sexual health with their potential partner(s) prior to engaging in sexual activity. If you have full knowledge of your partner having herpes and make the decision to have barrier-free sex, then that is the level of sexual risk you are comfortable making.
When someone you are planning to have sex with asks you about your personal sexual history and health, I recommend telling the truth if it could potentially affect them (for example, if you had a bacterial STI, successfully treated it, and got the "all is clear" from your doctor, there is no need to tell someone about it unless you want to). Similarly, its up to YOU to ask your potential sexual partner(s) about their sexual health and history. Geting into the habit of brining up this conversation is not always an easy thing to do, but I promise it gets so much easier with experience. One of the things I love to say is that "no one is going to look out for numero uno (that would be YOU) better than you." That's why learning to bring up the conversation about sexual health history in a real and nonjudgmental way is an awesomely rad skill.