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Suing Over an STD: Is it Worth it?

You love your partner with everything you have, and there’s no reason you think they will hurt you or try to do so. But suddenly, you experience symptoms that resemble inflammation in the urinary tract. You visit a doctor and find you’ve contracted an STD.

The worst thing that can happen in a relationship is contracting an STD from a partner; in some cases, it can occur due to the negligence of the affected person.

Many people who have contracted any STD often wonder if they can take legal action against the person. Yes, it is possible to sue someone over an STD and get compensation for the damages.

However, filing a lawsuit against someone over a criminal transmission of the disease is a bit complex; thus, we are here with this detailed article. Read on to know if you can sue someone for an STD you’ve contracted from a person and the types of STDs you can sue someone for.


What are STDs and STIs: Are they the Same?

STDs are sexually transmitted diseases, and STIs are sexually transmitted infections. But no matter which term people use, they talk about the same thing. STDs and STIs get transferred from one person to another from sexual activities, including intercourse.

There are multiple types of STDs and STIs, including chlamydia and HIV. According to the court of law, you cannot file a lawsuit against someone for every type of STD or STI. But most severe STDs like HIV/AIDs let you sue someone and get compensation for the damages caused to your physical well-being and financial health.

How Can You Sue a Person Over an STD?

If you have been infected with an STI or STD caused due to the negligence of your partner, you can file a lawsuit against them. And in rare cases, if any disease did not infect you, you may still be able to hold the person liable for criminal penalties due to the emotional trauma caused to you by the threat of exposure.

There are many legal theories that you can rely on in bringing a civil lawsuit for STI or STD. The right legal approach will depend on factors such as the circumstances of your situation and the severity of the disease you have contracted.

The most common theories include:

STD Caused Due to Negligence

If you believe your partner did not tell you they have an STD before making any sexual relations, you can hold them liable. To operate on the theory of negligence in court, you need to demonstrate the following elements:

  • Your partner knew they had an STD.
  • Your partner had a duty to inform you about their STD status.
  • Your partner did not inform you about their STD, and thus you contracted the disease.

To sue someone who gave you herpes or any sexually transmitted disease, you need to demonstrate the elements above.

An Important Note:

STD contracted due to negligence does not require you to demonstrate that your partner or someone else you have had relations with had ill intent. Your partner may still be negligent if they used any protection such as condoms, and you still have an STD.

Intentional Transmission of STD or Sexual Battery

Intentional exposure or transmission of STD occurs when one partner recklessly or knowingly transmits the disease or infection to you. There are three elements you or the plaintiff needs to prove:

  • The affected person knew they had an STD.
  • The affected person knew that the STD they have is transmissible.
  • The affected person did not disclose their STD status to their partner.


Whether your partner lied to you or you have been forced to participate in non-consensual sex, filing a lawsuit against them could help you obtain justice. If the defendant proves that they did not know about their STD status at the time of intercourse, they might not be held accountable for intentional transmission of STD. 

Wrongful Transmission of STD

Though not every state in the U.S., many states have recognized wrongful transmission of infection or an STD as its cause of action, making it a bit easier for the affected person or the plaintiff to sue the defendant.

It even makes it slightly easier to prove liability in states which criminalize sex without disclosing the STD status, especially with people that have HIV.

In cases where the law finds the defendant guilty, the plaintiff must prove the damages caused due to STD infections. Lawsuits over treatable sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia may not amount to more than the partial cost of the treatment or the cost of a one-dose antibiotic treatment.

What Type of STD Can You Sue Someone For?

There are around 20 sexually transmitted diseases; some are treatable, while others are not. According to the law, you cannot sue someone over every type of STD you contracted after sexual relations with them.

With the help of an STD lawsuit, you can seek compensation for the transmission of:

  • Gonorrhea
  • Genital herpes
  • Cervical Cancer from HPV
  • Syphilis
  • Chronic Hepatitis B

The type of STD you can file a lawsuit for may vary depending on the state’s rules. An attorney would be the best person to talk to know if you can sue someone for the type of STD or STI you have contracted from them.

New York State Law on Transmitting an STD

The STD lawsuit varies from state to state, and the penalties also differ depending on the type of STD transmission considered a crime in your state. Below we’ve explained the state laws on transmitting an STD in New York.

In New York, it is considered a misdemeanor for individuals who know about their STD status and still have sexual contact with others. Also, people who know they are infected with an STD that can cause death or who commit sex crimes like having unprotected sex with people who do not know about the infection may be guilty of intentional or reckless endangerment. 

Communicable Disease Laws in New York

New York’s law for STDs does not provide a list of STDs but instead refers to this infectious disease as venereal diseases. (N.Y. Pub. Health Law § 2307.)

Commonly accepted STDs (venereal disease) in New York include HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, hepatitis, and other contagious diseases that can spread through sexual activities.

To prove charges against the defendant, the plaintiff or prosecutor must show that the defendant engaged in activities that created severe health issues for the plaintiff or that there is a risk of death. (N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.25.)

If you think you have contracted any STDs mentioned above or STIs from your partner, and they knew about their STD status, you have the right to file a lawsuit against them seeking compensation for the damages. 

At Levine and Blit, we have the most experienced defense attorney in STD cases that can help you file a lawsuit and get justice. Give us a call today at 866-392-2182 to get your case evaluated and know more.


As per the law, individuals that do not know about their STD status cannot be guilty of having sexual contact with uninfected people if they do or do not catch the STD.

Has your partner sued you for transmitting an STD, and do you believe you are being wrongly accused? Contact our professional lawyers in New York, and get assistance throughout the case. We will represent you in court and will help you prove your innocence.

What Happens When You Sue Someone for Giving You an STD?

According to the law, if the defendant is found guilty of giving you an STD, they are sentenced to pay fines and undergo punishments according to the severity of their actions. The punishment could range from paying minimum penalties to jail time or even prison sentences.

Every sexually active individual is responsible for getting tested for STDs from time to time to protect themselves and the people around them. If you are diagnosed with an STD, the first thing you should do is:

Contact an Attorney Invested in STD Law

An attorney is the best person to contact to seek professional help. The attorney can tell you if the type of STD you have contracted lets you sue your partner and what you can expect in return.

Generally, you can sue someone if you are both located inside the United States. Difficulties may arise when the incident has occurred outside the country or with someone who does not belong to the United States.

This is why the first thing to do is to talk to your attorney and explain the situation. The attorney will help you file a lawsuit against your partner. Generally, there are two types of STD lawsuits, including:

  • Proving negligence
  • Proving intent

The attorney is the best person to determine which STD lawsuit you should file against your partner.

Prove that Your Partner Gave You an STD

While it can be pretty daunting to prove that your partner has transmitted an STD to you, it is still possible with the help of an expert attorney. Proving criminal charges against anyone requires a series of written or oral proof.

It is a good idea to retain all communication you had with your sexual partners. These can be used as evidence down the line and help you prove that your partner is at fault. Perhaps, you have discussed the STD transmission with your partner or any other communication that proves they knew about their STD status before getting into sexual relations with you.

Emails, texts, recorded calls, and other communication exchanges between you and your partner can be considered proof that they disclose being active with an STD.

How Long is the Process?

If you decide to go ahead with filing the lawsuit, it can take anywhere from months to years to reach trial. It depends on several things, such as how long it takes for your lawyer to find witnesses and evidence against your partner.

When suing a person for giving you an STD, you must remember that gathering the necessary proof may take some time. However, an experienced lawyer will know precisely where to look for the evidence you require. They will also make sure that the investigation is done correctly.

If you think you have grounds to pursue a claim, you must consult a skilled attorney prepared to offer guidance and advice.

Is it Worth it to Sue Someone Over an STD?

You might wonder if you sue your partner or someone else over an STD, everyone around you, including your colleagues or family members, will know about your STD status.

Filing an STD lawsuit against your partner is worth it for various reasons. Most STDs like herpes or gonorrhea have visible symptoms, and it can be pretty evident to your next sexual partner that you have an STD.

Also, treating STDs can be financially and mentally draining, so suing your partner and asking for compensation for the damages caused to you is worthwhile.

What Compensation Can You Recover from an STD Lawsuit?

The compensation depends on several factors, such as the type of STD you have contracted, its severity, and the intention of the person who has transmitted this disease to you.

Exposure or infection to a sexually transmitted disease may lead to several potential legal damages. Most likely, the court may award you medical compensation for the past and anticipates medical bills for disease control. Also, in some cases, the plaintiff can get compensation for the emotional distress they have experienced.

Lost wages and other financial losses incurred due to the contraction of an STD can also be recovered as compensation from the defendant.

Some STDs like chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea are easily treatable. However, if the affected person does not know they have an STD, they don’t seek medical attention. Without treatment and proper care, people with these diseases may suffer severe issues, including infertility and other serious infections that can be highly devastating.

Severely dangerous STDs and STIs such as HIV and AIDS can mean a life of medical issues for the victim. Some other compensations for your losses include:

  • Damage to your reputation
  • Embarrassment
  • Physical pain from the condition
  • Substantial risk to health

Find More Information on STD Lawsuit by Contacting Levine and Blit

If you have contracted HIV or got infected by any other type of STD caused due to your partner or any other person’s negligence, you should contact Levine and Blit.

Our attorneys specialize in infectious or contagious disease law and have helped clients get compensation from criminal prosecution for the damages and suffering they’ve been through.

Moreover, if your partner has sued you over an STD, you can hire our criminal defense lawyers to prove your innocence in court.

Call us today at 866-312-5923 to get a free case evaluation and to know more about the STD laws in New York.

Contact Levine & Blit, PLLC

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