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Is It a Crime to Transmit an STD?

Unexpectedly receiving a sexually transmitted disease (STD) can be devastating, particularly when the infection was transmitted from someone who did not let you know you might be at risk.

STDs can elicit extensive medical treatment and emotional distress. Some STDs may even develop into terminal illnesses, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) which can lead to cervical cancer.

As such, it’s vital for every sexually active individual to undergo regular testing for STDs so they know their status and their risk of transmitting any of these diseases to a sexual partner.

We discuss what may happen when individuals do not uphold this responsibility.

Can Someone Be Held Liable for Transmitting an STD?

Given the potential complications that may result from an STD, it’s the responsibility of every sexually active individual to undergo regular STD testing to ensure they do not have an infection they may transmit to a sexual partner.

If individuals discover they are infected with an STD, they have a legal responsibility to inform their sexual partners of their status to ensure their partners understand the potential risks involved in sexual activity.

The failure to inform a sexual partner of your STD status, or the failure to reasonably know about your STD status and then infect someone else by this negligence, is a crime in California.

Common Types of STDs

Despite advances in the medical field, many STDs have not yet been eradicated. To this day, many STDs do not have a cure and will remain with infected individuals for the remainder of their lives.

Some of the most common STDs include the following:


Herpes is an STD caused by two types of viruses: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).

HSV-1 causes oral herpes and can result in cold sores in or around the mouth. HSV-2 causes genital herpes and can result in painful sores on the skin around the genital area.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people with HSV-1 are infected during childhood from non-sexual contact with saliva. HSV-2, on the other hand, is almost exclusively transmitted through sexual activity.

Genital herpes is one of the most common STDs in the United States. More than one of every six people aged 14 to 49 years have genital herpes.

Genital herpes can be spread by any sexual contact with an infected person. This infection is particularly common because many carriers do not present symptoms or have visible sores.

Herpes has no cure. While treatments may help mitigate the infection’s symptoms, those who have this disease will carry it for the rest of their lives. This is why it’s of the utmost importance for sexually active individuals to get regular STD testing so they can be sure of their status.


Gonorrhea is a common STD that can cause infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat. It’s particularly prevalent in young people aged 15 to 24 years.

The common symptoms of gonorrhea include the following:

  • A burning sensation when urinating

  • Increased discharge

  • Unusual bleeding

Gonorrhea can be cured with the right treatment. However, it’s becoming more difficult to eradicate some cases of gonorrhea because drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea are increasing. Untreated gonorrhea may lead to the following:

  • Formation of scar tissue

  • Ectopic pregnancy

  • Infertility

  • Long-term abdominal pain


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) weakens a person’s immune system by destroying the cells that fight disease and infection. When left untreated, HIV may develop into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a chronic, life-threatening condition.

HIV can only be transmitted through sexual activity or needle and syringe use. The early symptoms of HIV may include:

  • Rashes and sores

  • An increase in fevers and illnesses

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Muscle and joint pain

However, many HIV positive individuals will never experience symptoms. This is why it’s important for everyone to get tested when they have a new sexual partner.

Pursuing an STD Lawsuit

If you have been infected with an STD from a sexual partner, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Our team is here to ensure that your sexual partner does not intimidate you into silence. You have the right to make your voice heard.

In order to pursue justice against your perpetrator, our team will work to prove their liability by demonstrating that they knew or should have known they had an STD and acted negligently when they failed to disclose their status.

Unlike criminal courts, we do not need to prove guilt in a civil case. As such, we may be able to settle your claim without going to court. At KMD Law, we prioritize discretion and attorney-client privilege when protecting your rights. If going to court does become necessary, we will do everything possible to keep your name out of the press.

During this difficult time, remember that you have every right to seek justice. You are now dealing with an infection that never would have been transmitted had your sexual partner been acting responsibly.

Additionally, keep in mind that the specific STD involved does not matter. You may pursue compensatory damages for the negligent spreading of any STD. These damages may include funds for past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Contact KMD Law today at (833) 456-3529 to schedule a confidential consultation.