*Usher’s herpes accuser in Georgia, Laura Helm, now says she only had protected sex with the singer, despite claiming otherwise in her $20 million lawsuit.

TMZ obtained a recording of Helm on the phone telling a male friend she had no plans to sue Usher after finding out he allegedly has herpes. She said Usher had always worn a condom when they had sex, so she wasn’t concerned about exposure to the virus.

“That’s why they make protection, for people who have STDs,” she reportedly said.

The conversation took place July 19, just two days before Helm filed the lawsuit and changed her story. In the docs, she said Usher did NOT use a condom when they had sex in New Orleans.

TMZ points out how the two different stories appear to cast doubt on her credibility.

Her attorney Lisa West says Helm only lied because she thought her publicist, Dennis Byron — the guy on the phone — was trying to shop a story to the media about Usher having an affair.

West says Helm “didn’t want to be exploited and, in her attempt to deter Byron from doing so, she told him (inaccurately) that she never had protected sex with Usher and that she did not have herpes.” West adds she’s gone to law enforcement because Helm thinks Byron was extorting her.

Worth noting — Helm also accused Byron of stalking her, but on Friday a judge dismissed the matter for lack of evidence.