Can You Sue A Person Who Intentionally Transmitted You An STD?

Can You Sue A Person Who Intentionally Transmitted You An STD?
Can You Sue A Person Who Intentionally Transmitted You An STD?

Can You Sue A Person Who Intentionally Transmitted You An STD?


“Cases of injury concerning disclosure and infection with Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) occur when someone reveals that they have an STD. There could be a legal ground for both the situations.” As written by Attorney Coulter Boeschen, from the University of Michigan Law School.

There are two different types of legal actions related to STDs:

  1. Lawsuits based on the defendant’s infection of the plaintiff, or
  2. On the disclosure made by the plaintiff to third parties by the defendant of the plaintiff’s STD.

These two categories of litigation, are covered in this article.

Liability For Infecting Others  

Several legal theories (or causes of action) allow a plaintiff to sue a defendant for transmitting an STD, like, battery, fraud, or negligence.


Similar to other civil battery actions, a battery cause of action for the transmission of an STD involves the defendant’s deliberate, unintentional or unconsented injurious contact with the plaintiff.

In an STD case, the plaintiff may agree to have sexual activity, but not when it comes with a recognised risk of developing an STD. Furthermore, it suffices for the defendant to proceed with sexual activity knowing that there are probable chances of having an intentional attempt to spread the STD.

Hence, for a civil battery claim to proceed successfully, the defendant must have actual knowledge that he or she is likely to have an STD or is afflicted with one.


To establish a theory of negligence, the plaintiff must present that the defendant owed them responsibility and that they were aware that the defendant was likely to transmit the STD to the plaintiff.

Invariable, almost a judge will determine that the defendant must tell a sexual partner that they have an STD. Therefore, it is possible that the defendant will be held liable if they had sexual contact with the plaintiff, should have known about the STD, and still spread the disease.

Remember that even though there was no transmission, there are circumstances in which it is still feasible to file a lawsuit for exposure to an STD. Cases of this category may be founded on negligence or intentional infliction of emotional anguish.


If the defendant concealed facts about STD, from the plaintiff, that they knew they had, or were likely to have, an STD to engage in sexual activity, there may be a fraud cause of action.

Accountability For Leaking Information About An STD

Depending on the situation, telling people, that someone has an STD, may put you at danger or risk of being sued for privacy invasion, and revealing personal information publicly.

When the defendant violates the privacy of a plaintiff in a manner that is “highly offensive or derogatory”, to the general public and also involves information that is legitimately believed to be private, it is deemed as an invasion of privacy.

When information about the personal life of the plaintiff is revealed to the public, even if they are “highly offensive” and the issue is unrelated to the public, liability for public disclosure of private facts arises.

Given the similarities between the above two causes of action, revealing a plaintiff’s STD status can and will be subjected to liability on the defendant, under either theory.

Most states have laws that regulate the disclosure of the HIV status of the plaintiff. With very few exceptions, such as medical procedures and court cases. It is generally prohibited to reveal another person’s HIV status in these exceptions. A civil action (i.e., a plaintiff suing the person who revealed the former’s HIV status) may be justified in some cases, but not in others.

Healthcare Provider’s Responsibility For Disclosure Or Transmission

Recalling the medical professionals about their accountability, if a patient is exposed or contacts an STD. When infections occur in medical settings, it gives rise to medical malpractice cases, for which the plaintiff is subject to regulations.

The only exception will be if sexual activity was the reason for transmission of the STD, in which the medical malpractice laws would not be applicable.

Medical professionals are frequently permitted by law to reveal a patient’s status for STDs. A medical practitioner can inform hospital workers and anybody else who might be at risk of infection – such as the infected person’s sexual partners-about STDs other than HIV.

In comparable situations, it is possible to disclose HIV, but most states have stricter legislation governing this category of disclosure.

The Impact Of Criminal Laws

Criminal laws that specifically target the spread of STDs and other related illnesses are present in most of the states. In a civil trial, the plaintiff may be able to present the defendant’s criminal conviction as proof of their liability if the defendant is found guilty in a criminal trial. Keeping in mind that a victim cannot receive monetary damages, one must be aware of these damages on a criminal conviction.

In STD Cases, Civil Damages

Legal actions about the spread of STDs often provide the same kinds of injury compensation as other personal injury lawsuits. If there are no serious medical complications or acute physical symptoms, the plaintiff’s mental anguish and lifestyle adjustment would account for most damages.

If a plaintiff is exposed to an STD but is not infected, the damages would be determined by the intense fear and anxiety the plaintiff experiences upon knowing they may have an STD.

The emotional distress brought on by stigmatization, embarrassment, and/or discriminatory treatment, can result from an STD being disclosed publically.






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