The virus is of two types:
- Herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1, commonly called cold sores)
- Herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2, commonly called genital herpes) is more common even among famous people with herpes.
Herpes is neither deadly nor causes any serious health issues. It causes some painful blisters, sores, and outbreaks at the site of infection. That is around the mouth or genitals, which for many people happen less over time and may eventually stop occurring completely.
Symptoms in herpes may develop 2–20 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include tingling, itching, burning, sores, or blisters forming around the mouth or genitals.
ORAL HERPES- Oral herpes causes blisters, also known as fever sores or cold sores. They are developed in or around the lips and mouth.
Sometimes these blisters tend to form on the tongue or somewhere else on the face. But rarely on any other areas of skin. The sores usually last 2–3 weeks at a time.
GENITAL HERPES- Genital herpes causes blisters/sores which develop on the penis, around or inside the vagina. They can also occur on the buttocks or the anus. However, they can form on other areas of the skin.
Herpes can also cause dysuria (painful urination). It can also change vaginal discharge. When the first time sores appear, they may last 2–6 weeks. Soon after this initial outbreak, symptoms may recur frequently.
With time, outbreaks may occur less often, and the symptoms tend to become less severe.
Primary symptoms- These occur when a person first develops the infection. Alongside sores or blisters, the following symptoms may also appear:
- pain and itching
- swollen lymph nodes/ swollen glands in your pelvic area, throat, and under your arms
- a general feeling of being unwell
In most cases, the lesions heal without long-term scarring.
Recurring symptoms- Symptoms that reappear are kind of similar to the initial symptoms. However, they tend to be less severe and last for a shorter period.
The signs and symptoms can be inconsistent and may recur, off and on, for years. Some people experience numerous episodes each year. While on the other side, for many people, however, the outbreaks are less frequent as time passes.
Research suggests that around 33% of people with oral herpes and 50% of genital herpes experience recurring symptoms.
Recurring symptoms of oral and genital herpes tend to last 8–10 days. And there will be fewer sores than there were in the initial phase.
Herpes is incurable. However, it can be managed and prevented easily by practicing safe sexual practices (via condoms). Be it any sexual practice, safe sexual methods are always necessary. They help prevent any unforeseen situations/problems, esp in the case of STIs.
Prevention- The disease is incurable. Measures to prevent or reduce the risk of developing or passing on herpes MUST be taken. For example:
- use condoms during sexual practices (barrier method)
- avoid sex while symptoms are present
- incase of cold sore around the mouth, avoid kissing and oral sex
- washing the hands thoroughly during an outbreak, especially after touching the affected area. This makes sure that the virus does not contaminate surfaces being touched.
This disease is inarguably very common STI but is still heavily stigmatized for very vague reasons. However, it is wrong to lie about having herpes with your sexual partners. And there is nothing shameful or degrading in admitting to having a herpes infection. Rather it is a very righteous and responsible thing to do.
1. Derek Jeter
A famous baseball player, athlete, and actor, Derek Jeter, is among famous people with herpes. He has been in hot water to be a big source of the Hollywood herpes epidemic.
Derek Jeter has transmitted herpes to his former celebrity girlfriends. The list includes Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba, Vanessa Minnillo, Adriana Lima, Mariah Carey, and Scarlett Johansson.
2. Anne Heche
American actress, producer, and TV director Anne Heche admitted to having herpes through her memoir. And hence, she is one of the famous people with herpes.
In the memoir, she claims that her father sexually molested her till 12 years of age. And got infected by genital herpes through her father at the tender age of 8.
3. Jessica Alba
American actress, model, and businesswoman, Jessica Alba has genital herpes. It was transmitted to her by her boyfriend, Derek Jeter.
In the news, Cash Warren (her husband) tried “curing” herpes through Valtrex. (Valtrex is an antiviral medication used to treat outbreaks of Herpes Simplex)
4. Jessica Biel
Jessica Biel, an American actress, producer, model, and singer, is another famous figure with herpes.
She is said to have contracted herpes through her ex-boyfriend Derek Jeter.
5. Robin Williams
Robin Williams was an American standup comedian, actor, producer, writer, director, singer, and voice artist. He passed away in August 2014.
A cocktail waitress sued Williams in 1986, who claimed that Williams transmitted the virus to her. Apparently out of court settlement was done of the case for an unknown amount of money.
6. Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson, a famous American actress, singer, and model, is also a famous person with herpes.
It’s said that she had contracted herpes from ex-boyfriend Derek Jeter. And as mentioned above, Derek Jeter is a big source of herpes transmission among his former celebrity girlfriends.
7. Janet Jackson
An American singer, songwriter, dancer, and actress, Janet Jackson, has herpes.
The news swirled around when her chef sued her for using his name on prescriptions for medication used for herpes.
8. Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton is an American businesswoman, television personality, socialite, model, actress, DJ, singer, and author. Reportedly she is also one of the famous people with herpes.
This is supported by the fact that prescriptions/records were found with her name for Valtrex in her locker in 2017. (Valtrex- a drug that is used to treat outbreaks of genital herpes).
9. Billy Idol
William Michael Albert Broad is an English musician, songwriter, singer, and actor, professional known as Billy Idol. He admitted to having herpes in an interview with Rollin Stone Magazine. Hence, it is another name on the list of famous people with herpes.
Usher Raymond IV is an American singer, dancer, songwriter, businessman, and actor. He was reportedly diagnosed with herpes in 2009 or 2010.
Laura Helm alleged that Usher Raymond transmitted her genital herpes during a sexual encounter in 2017. And hid the fact from her in the first place that he had been diagnosed with herpes.
She claimed that she experienced symptoms, and she then tested positive for herpes. She also claims that she read online reports of Usher’s alleged herpes diagnosis. However, this wasn’t the first time that Usher was sued for this.
This list of famous people with herpes indicates that it’s about time we realize how common herpes is and destigmatize it.
There are many more celebrities with herpes apart from the above list. And possibly even more who don’t know yet or have not been public about it.
According to a survey done in 2015-2016, for people aged 14–49: The prevalence of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) was 47.8%, and the prevalence of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) was 11.9%.
In simple terms, herpes affects 1 out of 6 people ages 14 to 49.
However, safe sexual practices should be encouraged. And don’t forget, it might not be the easiest conversation to have with your partner. But if you have been diagnosed with herpes, you MUST tell them.
Stay healthy! Stay safe!
Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.