We might not talk about them, but Sexually Transmitted Infections are more common than you think. In 2015, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that there was a total of around 110 million cases of three prevalent STIs which had dedicated federally funded programmes. These STIs were gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia. About 50.5 million reported cases occurred in men and 59.5 million cases were found in women. Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 were seen to be disproportionately affected, making up 50% of new infections despite representing only 25% of people who have had sex.
This has been linked to the high proportion of young people who fail to get tested, and thus spread diseases they are unaware they are carrying in the first place. Some argue that the low testing figures among young people can be attributed to the stigma around STIs while others maintain many don’t believe they are at risk and thus feel testing doesn’t apply to them. Either way, there is a serious need for more young people to engage more with sexual health services in order to correctly identify their status when it comes to these infections. Arguably, the stigma around STIs not only prevents some from testing but is also a reason why positive status may be concealed after results are received. Hollywood actor Charlie Sheen revealed that he had paid millions of dollars to hide his HIV-positive status, after being blackmailed by an unnamed party for years. Another celebrity is now being accused of hiding the fact that he has an STI, thus knowingly infecting others, and is facing legal action as a result. Born Usher Raymond IV, R&B superstar is being sued for allegedly concealing the fact that he has herpes. Herpes is a common STD: the CDC reports that one out of every six people aged 14 to 49 years in the US has the disease. It is caused by two types of virus – the herpes simplex type 1 and herpes simplex type 2 viruses – which are carried by sores. Contact with these sores, and the fluid within them, leads to infection. Genital herpes can be managed, but has no cure. Celebrity attorney Lisa Bloom, who also represents Blac Chyna in her revenge-porn case against her ex Robert Kardashian – announced this during a press release. Three people – two women and one man – are suing him for not telling them about his diagnosis.This follows reports that he paid a woman $1.1 million in December 2012 to settle a similar lawsuit which accused him of infecting her with the disease. Usher is alleged to have been diagnosed with this disease around 2009, based on court documents, and is said to havecontinued to have unprotected sex with the unnamed woman while fully aware of his condition. The woman, who then worked as a stylist, is said to have suffered from vaginal sores, fevers and other herpes symptoms and court papers showed that Usher covered her medical bills to the tune of $2,754.40 in addition to the million dollar settlement. According to California state law, it is illegal to knowingly transmit an STD. Now married – Usher wed his current wife Grace Miguel in 2015 following his divorce from first wife Tameka Foster in 2009 – the singer and father of two is yet to comment on the allegations. In yet another high profile case, the stigma around STIs continues to shroud discussion of such diagnoses in secrecy and this does not have to be the case. The more open we all are about our health, and the more proactive we are about testing, the better for everyone in the long run. H/T: People
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