A woman with herpes who uses TikTok to raise awareness about the condition has slammed MTV for mocking her in one of its TV shows
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A woman with herpes who uses TikTok to raise awareness about the condition has slammed MTV for mocking her in one of its TV shows.

Suzanna Brusikiewicz, who is from Toronto, Canada, was featured in the network’s series Ridiculousness recently.

The show, which first aired in 2011 and has been going on for 27 seasons, shows host Rob Dyrdek share ‘color commentary’ on a slew of viral videos.

During one episode, he brought up a previous TikTok that Suzanna had shared in which she revealed she had been diagnosed with the sexually transmitted disease, but said she was still ‘f**king hot.’

Suzanna, who has racked up more than 232,000 followers on the app, often posts videos making jokes and discussing the virus in an attempt to end the stigma around it, but she was unamused when Rob branded her as a ‘super-spreader’ in the show.

A woman with herpes who uses TikTok to raise awareness about the condition has slammed MTV for mocking her in one of its TV shows

A woman with herpes who uses TikTok to raise awareness about the condition has slammed MTV for mocking her in one of its TV shows

Suzanna Brusikiewicz, who is from Toronto, Canada, was featured in the network's series Ridiculousness recently

Suzanna Brusikiewicz, who is from Toronto, Canada, was featured in the network’s series Ridiculousness recently

The show, which first aired in 2011 and has been going on for 27 seasons, shows host Rob Dyrdek (pictured) share 'color commentary' on a slew of viral videos

The show, which first aired in 2011 and has been going on for 27 seasons, shows host Rob Dyrdek (pictured) share ‘color commentary’ on a slew of viral videos

During one episode, he brought up a previous TikTok that Suzanna had shared in which she revealed she had been diagnosed with the STD, but said she was still 'f**king hot'

During one episode, he brought up a previous TikTok that Suzanna had shared in which she revealed she had been diagnosed with the STD, but said she was still 'f**king hot'

During one episode, he brought up a previous TikTok that Suzanna had shared in which she revealed she had been diagnosed with the STD, but said she was still ‘f**king hot’

‘Two fun facts about me – yes, I have herpes, and yes, I’m f**king hot,’ she said in the TikTok that was featured on Ridiculousness.

After airing it, Rob and guest judges Chanel West Coast and Steelo Brim proceeded to crack jokes about Suzanna and make fun of her, with Rob calling her a ‘super-spreader’ and Chanel saying it was ‘scary.’ 

Suzanna, who has racked up more than 232,000 followers on the app, often posts videos making jokes and discussing the virus in an attempt to end the stigma around it

Suzanna, who has racked up more than 232,000 followers on the app, often posts videos making jokes and discussing the virus in an attempt to end the stigma around it

Suzanna was not happy that Rob called her that, especially since she explained that being vocal about having it and spreading it are two very different things.

She also pointed out that MTV promotes itself as a ‘sex positive’ company and even has its own ‘sex-ed’ website called It’s Your Sex Life – which has numerous facts and statistics about STDs, including herpes.

‘They see a woman who is confident and owns her worth and sexuality, they see she’s desirable and then they assume that she is spreading it to all her partners,’ she said in a response video shared to her account last week. 

‘But news flash: herpes itself is the super spreader and has been for millions of years.

‘So while Rob’s mind, body, and style are stuck in his 16-year-old hey-dey, MTV is allowing people with herpes to be called “super-spreaders” while promoting how sex positive they are.’

There are two different types of herpes – HSV-1, also known as oral herpes, is transmitted by mouth-to-mouth contact, causing symptoms known as cold sores, but it can also be spread to the genitals through oral sex. HSV-2, on the other hand, is a sexually transmitted infection that causes genital herpes and can’t be spread to the mouth.

After airing one of her TikToks, Rob and guest judges Chanel West Coast and Steelo Brim (seen on the show) proceeded to crack jokes about Suzanna and make fun of her

After airing one of her TikToks, Rob and guest judges Chanel West Coast and Steelo Brim (seen on the show) proceeded to crack jokes about Suzanna and make fun of her

After airing one of her TikToks, Rob and guest judges Chanel West Coast and Steelo Brim (seen on the show) proceeded to crack jokes about Suzanna and make fun of her

She was unamused when Rob branded her as a 'super-spreader' in the show, explaining in a follow-up video that being vocal about having it and spreading it are two very different things

She was unamused when Rob branded her as a ‘super-spreader’ in the show, explaining in a follow-up video that being vocal about having it and spreading it are two very different things

'They see a woman who is confident and owns her worth and sexuality, they see she's desirable and then they assume that she is spreading it to all her partners,' Suzanna said

‘They see a woman who is confident and owns her worth and sexuality, they see she’s desirable and then they assume that she is spreading it to all her partners,’ Suzanna said

'My intention was to reach audiences I could reach beyond TikTok, who needed to see and hear someone proclaiming that they have herpes in a confident, unbothered way,' she added

‘My intention was to reach audiences I could reach beyond TikTok, who needed to see and hear someone proclaiming that they have herpes in a confident, unbothered way,’ she added

The World Health Organization reported that 3.7 billion people under the age of 50, or 67 per cent of the population, had HSV-1 in 2016, which is their most recent data, while HSV-2 affected an estimated 491 million (13 per cent) people aged 15–49 worldwide.

The CDC added that there are about 572,000 new genital herpes infections in the United States every year.

Herpes facts

  • There are two different types of herpes – HSV-1, also known as oral herpes, is transmitted by mouth-to-mouth contact, causing symptoms known as cold sores, but it can also be spread to the genitals through oral sex. HSV-2, on the other hand, is a sexually transmitted infection that causes genital herpes and can’t be spread to the mouth
  • The World Health Organization reported that 3.7 billion people under the age of 50, or 67 per cent of the population, had HSV-1 in 2016, while HSV-2 affected an estimated 491 million (13 per cent) people aged 15–49 worldwide
  • HSV-1 is mainly transmitted via contact with the virus in sores, saliva or surfaces in or around the mouth. Less commonly, HSV-1 can be transmitted to the genital area through oral-genital contact to cause genital herpes. HSV-2 is mainly transmitted during sex through contact with genital or anal surfaces, skin, sores or fluids of someone infected with the virus 
  • Antiviral medications are the most effective medications for people infected with herpes. These can help to reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms but cannot cure the infection

Suzanne added that she knew the hosts would ‘roast her,’ but that she was hoping her video would ‘reach the people who needed to see it.’

As for why she spoke out about it in the first place, she explained, ‘Why did I do that? To destigmatize it and normalize it and inspire people who have it.’

Other viral videos posted by Suzanna feature her debunking popular ‘myths’ about herpes such as it being spread through a toilet – which isn’t possible since it can only be caught via skin-to-skin touch.

Another clip featured her responding to ‘online trolls’ who are ‘bothered she has herpes’ while she’s just ‘enjoying the views’ and eating a ‘salad.’ 

A third was called ‘a day in the life of a herpes advocate,’ which showed her making her morning coffee, getting ready for the day, and running errands.

In a follow-up video, Suzanna revealed that she had received a voicemail from the production team behind the show after her response went viral – gaining more than two million videos – who told her they were removing her clip from Ridiculousness.  However, she was still not satisfied. 

‘I was frustrated because there was no name or callback number. I wanted to have a conversation, not be told what they were going to do,’ she said. 

‘My intention wasn’t to have it removed, I wanted it to be acknowledged in some way.’

She then sent MTV an email expressing her ‘utter shock’ over being labeled a ‘super-spreader,’ adding that while she knew what she had signed up for, she found Rob’s comment ‘absurd and defamatory.’

‘I am a public figure who educates on herpes sigma and awareness, and encourages open and honest communication with partners,’ she wrote.

‘My desire actually wasn’t even to have the clip removed from broadcast, as my hope was it would reach audiences who themselves struggle with herpes, and provide anyone who’s seen it with a teachable moment.

‘My desire is to have some kind of acknowledgement from the show, network, and/or Rob Dydek himself that what was said was completely inappropriate and wrong.

She sent MTV an email expressing her 'utter shock' over being labeled a 'super-spreader,' adding that she found Rob's comment 'absurd and defamatory'

She sent MTV an email expressing her ‘utter shock’ over being labeled a ‘super-spreader,’ adding that she found Rob’s comment ‘absurd and defamatory’

In the end, she said someone from the production company called her and told her they were removing the clip because they 'weren't comfortable' with it being on air anymore

In the end, she said someone from the production company called her and told her they were removing the clip because they ‘weren’t comfortable’ with it being on air anymore

'My gripe still lies with MTV because they promote themselves as being sex positive and it was irresponsible to allow content that shames people for a really common virus,' she concluded

‘My gripe still lies with MTV because they promote themselves as being sex positive and it was irresponsible to allow content that shames people for a really common virus,’ she concluded

‘Perhaps an opportunity to speak to the issue on one of your platforms with Rob himself, or another format where I can be given a voice to help correct something I falsely believed MTV was a positive force in.’

She added on TikTok: ‘I knew they probably weren’t going to go for any of that stuff, but I thought I would take a shot.’

In the end, she said another person from the production company spoke with her over the phone and said that they were removing the clip because they ‘weren’t comfortable’ with it being on air anymore, and that they are supportive of ‘what she does.’

‘My intention from the beginning was to reach audiences I could reach beyond TikTok, who needed to see and hear someone proclaiming that they have herpes in a confident, unbothered way,’ she concluded.

‘I knew they were going to say some stupid s**t but calling someone a super-spreader was too far.

‘My gripe still lies with MTV because they, as a network, promote themselves as being sex positive and it was really irresponsible to allow content that shames people for a really common virus or STI.’

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