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This week, Halle Berry recalled an intimate story that several Black women know of far too well – medical misdiagnosis. Speaking to an invite-only room of entertainment writers, showrunners, and insiders, the Oscar winner shared that a medical doctor told her she had “the worst case of herpes he’d ever seen.” 

Later, Halle found out her symptoms were due to perimenopause.

“I realized after the fact that is a symptom of perimenopause,” Halle reportedly said when describing pain and dryness after sex. “My doctor had no knowledge and didn’t prepare me. That’s when I knew, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve got to use my platform. I have to use all of who I am, and I have to start making a change, and a difference for other women.’”

The 57-year-old’s commentary was part of a conversation with First Lady Jill Biden on taboo women’s health topics and the need for a new approach to women’s health research. The two women joined other changemakers, culture influencers, and stakeholders for a private event, A Day of Unreasonable Conversation. The talk aimed to bring diverse perspectives and stories to entertainment writers and empower and encourage them to tell more authentic, real stories.

Halle Berry’s Medical Misdiagnosis Illuminates The Need For Better Accountability

As it relates to Halle’s experience – and that of many Black women – one can’t get more “real” than tackling medical misdiagnosis. According to 2022 Pew Research, 34% of Black women say their “health concerns or symptoms were not taken seriously” in interactions with healthcare providers. And 71% of Black women reported having at least one negative experience with providers in the past. 

These common occurrences aren’t just unfortunate – but potentially deadly. They can lead to further mistrust of the healthcare system and poor health outcomes. While Halle’s story was humorous (according to The Hollywood Reporter, the actress joked about her menopause ‘aha moment’), not every instance is as funny.

Nearly two weeks ago, we learned of the passing of beauty and hair influencer Jessica Pettway. Jessica said doctors told her she had fibroids after complaining of pain, blood, and discomfort. Later, she learned her symptoms were caused by cervical cancer. By the time she received the correct diagnosis, she was in Stage 3.

While no Black woman’s story, medical condition, or diagnosis will ever be the same, we appreciate the resounding chorus of voices speaking up about medical conditions, concerns, and advocacy. Black women’s health is nothing to be played with – and we deserve the best in care.


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Another Case Of Medical Misdiagnosis? Halle Berry Says Doctors Told Her She Had Herpes Instead Of Identifying Menopause  was originally published on