Can You Sue a Partner for Infecting You with an STD?

Where You Need a Lawyer:

(This may not be the same place you live)

At No Cost! 

 Can I Sue My Sexual Partner for Giving Me an STD?

Sexual contact is a very intimate act between two people. A person will likely share their life and secrets with the person they choose to have sex with. When a sexual partner has a sexually transmitted disease (STD), it can have a lasting and permanent effect on the people involved.

If you have been infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD), by your sexual partner, you may be able to sue your partner for damages. In some cases, you may be able to sue for the costs of medical treatment, pain and suffering, and potentially be awarded punitive damages.

Many states have restrictions on when you can file a lawsuit against your partner (for example, you may need to file suit within a certain amount of time after discovering that you are infected).

If you have been diagnosed with an STD, it is important to know your legal options for pursuing compensation from those who either gave you the STD or exposed you to the disease.

In order to win a lawsuit against someone for giving you herpes, chlamydia, genital warts, HIV/AIDS, or another sexually transmitted disease, you need evidence linking catching the disease to the person who gave it to you.

This means being tested by a doctor or health clinic after being diagnosed with an STD, and getting the results of the test to use as evidence against your partner if you decide to sue them.

Why Would I Want To Sue My Sexual Partner For Giving Me An STD?

Since you were not aware at the time that your partner was infected, you may consider taking legal action and suing your former sexual partner who infected you with an STD.

Most people know that it is wrong to knowingly give someone an STD. While the personal reasons for taking a former partner to court varies, some people are motivated to bring a cause of action because:

  • It may prevent the infected person from infecting others
  • If you can prove fault, you may be entitled to monetary damages
  • It prevents the spread of the disease and creates awareness

What Are Some Specific Causes of Action For Transmitting A STD?

In general, the penalty for failing to inform your partner of an STD could potentially be severe. You could face charges for assault, battery, or even murder if your partner contracts an STD as a result of your actions.

A wrongful infection criminal case generally requires the following elements to be met:

  • The defendant has been diagnosed with one or more sexually transmitted diseases; and
  • The defendant knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly infects another person with a sexually transmitted disease.

A common scenario is when a defendant knows that they have an STD, but withholds this information and does not inform their partner of their disease before engaging in sexual intercourse. Afterward, the plaintiff contracts the STD from the defendant.

In a case like the one above, courts typically will find a defendant guilty if there is a causal relationship between the plaintiff contracting the STD from the defendant.

Sexual Battery

If you can prove that the other person knew they had an STD and did not disclose that information to you, then their actions would fall under the category of sexual battery (since they took advantage of your lack of knowledge and consent).

In other words, if they knew they were infected and had sex with you without telling you, then their actions were not consensual and can be considered a form of assault.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death is another cause of action that can be brought against someone who caused the death of another by infecting them with their STD.

The filing of a wrongful death claim stemming from wrongful infection or wrongful transmission of a sexually transmitted disease does not always require disclosure of the STD by the defendant to the victim.

Instead, wrongful death claims commonly allow for recovery regardless of disclosure by the defendant and regardless of consent by the victim. It has long been public policy that people should not be allowed to consent to their own death.

Criminal Sexual Conduct

Most states have enacted laws that punish bad actors for “injuries” sustained from sexual activity or sexual assaults. In some states, a person can be sentenced to life in prison if a defendant causes an injury to another such as infecting a victim with an STD.

Can My Partner Be Found Guilty Of Negligence?

For wrongful infection of an STD based on negligence, it must be shown that the defendant failed to act as a “reasonable person” would have under the same or similar circumstances.
Examples of this could include failing to inform a sexual partner about having genital herpes before engaging in sexual intercourse when the defendant knew or should have known they had an STD.

Not disclosing an STD can be considered tantamount to unconsented sex.

Negligence does not require malice or ill intent. A person can still be negligent even though they used protection like a condom. They can still be liable for damages if they infect you with an STD that they failed to disclose to you.

If you have evidence linking your sexual partner to your STD, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit against them in order to seek compensation for medical costs and pain and suffering.
Accordingly, if you have been injured by someone who knowingly or negligently transmitted an STD to you, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them.

Many negligent infection cases fall within the tort of battery by the defendant against the plaintiff. This is because negligent transmission is an actionable tort claim based on contact between two affectionate parties.

It’s important to remember that you have a responsibility to both yourself and your partner to inform them of any potential risks before engaging in any sexual activity.

Is It A Crime To Have Unprotected Sex If I Am HIV Positive?

In almost all states, it is a crime to have unprotected sex with someone if you know you have been positively diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), regardless of whether you disclose that you are HIV positive or not.

If HIV goes untreated, it can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and possibly death. Since HIV can be life-threatening and is easily transmitted with unprotected sex, most states have criminalized the act of unprotected sex.

It’s important to remember that HIV is a very serious infection, and currently, there is no effective cure for the disease. Therefore, it’s crucial to take all necessary precautions to protect yourself and your partner.

Do I Need An Attorney?

If you had sex with someone who knew they were infected with an STD and didn’t tell you about their condition, it’s important to speak with a qualified personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal options.

if you have engaged in unprotected sex with someone and didn’t disclose your STD status, it’s a good idea to speak with a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in this area of law in order to learn about your legal options.

Law Library Disclaimer


16 people have successfully posted their cases

Find a Lawyer