A 23-year-old Missouri man was found guilty of infecting one man, and endangering four others, with HIV while he was attending college, according to a MSN News article. Prosecutors introduced evidence that showed the former college wrestler knew he was HIV positive but lied to his sexual partners.
STD law falls under what is known as “tort law”. A tort occurs when a person’s careless or intentional act causes injury to another’s person or property. If a tort has occurred, the person who committed the act (the tortfeasor) can be held accountable for money damages. In some circumstances, a person who is infected with an STD may seek legal remedy for damages and suffering. Several states have passed laws that make it unlawful for someone to fail to disclose to a sexual partner that he or she has an STD. In fact, this can be grounds for a criminal or civil lawsuit.
Criminal STD Law Cases
In about half of the nation’s states, it is a felony for a person with HIV/AIDS to willfully expose another to this STD through sexual relations. Some laws broadly make it unlawful to conduct oneself in a “manner likely to transmit the disease”. If found guilty, an accused can face up to eight years in prison. Nevertheless, the prosecution must prove “willful exposure” which is found when evidence shows an accused intentionally infected others through unprotected sexual activity. In other words, the accused must have 1) known they had HIV/AIDS, 2) failed to tell their partner of their disease status, and 3) had the specific intent of infecting their partner.
Civil STD Law Cases
A victim infected with an STD may file a civil lawsuit on the grounds of negligence, battery, fraud and/or the intentional infliction of emotional or psychological distress. Generally, curable diseases (such as syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital warts and urethritis) do not provide sufficient grounds for a lawsuit. In such cases, a victim must show that 1) the accused knew, or should have known, they were infected with an STD; 2) the victim was unaware of the accused STD at the time of the sexual encounter; and 3) the victim was infected by the accused and no one else.
STD Law Attorneys
While the Missouri case found the defendant guilty, generally STD law cases can be difficult to prove because the incubation period is different, depending on the type of STD involved. Hiring a knowledgeable and skilled employment STD law attorney is vital in proceeding successfully with your case. Contact the skilled attorneys at Levine & Blit, PLLC at (212) 967-3000 today to schedule your initial free consultation.