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What STDs Can You Sue For? Everything Explained


If you have some reasons to believe that you got an STD from your sexual partner, it is understandable to wonder whether you can sue them or not. The answer is most likely yes; you can file a lawsuit against them for transmitting an STD to you. However, not every type of STD lets you file a lawsuit.

While the STD laws vary from state to state, most states allow the affected person to file a lawsuit against their partner who knowingly transmitted an STD. This article is about the types of STDs you can sue someone for.

You will also find information regarding the state’s laws on STDs (with an example of New York) and what type of lawyer you should appoint to get the justice you deserve.


What is an STD or an STI?

STD (sexually transmitted disease) or STI (sexually transmitted infection) are the same terms used to represent infections caused by sexually transmitted diseases. STDs are primarily transferred between individuals due to sexual contact, including sexual intercourse.

Some STDs or venereal diseases can be treated, while some conditions, such as HIV, have no cure and can even lead to death. Many states in the U.S criminalize the transfer of STIs and STDs between people under certain circumstances.

These laws impose penalties on the offender and help the plaintiff get the proper compensation for the damages such as medical bills and emotional distress caused due to the medical condition.

Is There a Law Around Transmission of STDs? And Can You Sue Someone for Not telling You They Have an STD?

Yes, there are laws around STDs that let you file a lawsuit against the person you have contracted the disease from. Criminal transmission of any STD, especially HIV, is considered a crime, and the defendant may face severe penalties and even prison for transmitting the disease.

For example, if your sexual partner knows that they have an STD and then knowingly indulged in sexual contact with you, with or without an ill intent to transfer the disease, you can sue them for not disclosing their STD status beforehand, making sexual contact.

Was There Consent?

The presence of consent predominantly affects the case, and the person who has transmitted the disease may not be found guilty. Several states have specific laws that let people with an active STD status knowingly indulge in sexual or physical contact with a person without the fear of prosecution, provided they tell their partner about the STD status.

As long as the person consents to the relationship, the person with an active sexually transmitted disease may not be held guilty of criminal transfer of the disease or virus, even if their partner gets affected by it.

However, laws in some states do not allow for informed consent exceptions, and there are chances of getting convicted of criminal transmission of a sexually transmitted disease where the person with an active STD knowingly makes sexual contact with an un-infected person and infects them.

What States Does the STD Lawsuit Apply to?

Currently, around 35 states in the U.S. have laws that criminalize STD exposure, mainly HIV. The laws of 50 states were categorized and assessed into four categories:

  1. STD or sexually communicable disease, transmissible, contagious, infectious disease laws criminalize or control behaviors that can potentially expose or infect any individual to the following diseases, including HIV.
  2. HIV-specific laws criminalize or control behaviors that can potentially expose any individual to HIV.
  3. Sentence enhancement laws for any STD, especially HIV, do not criminalize a behavior but may increase the sentence length when an individual with HIV and infectious or contagious disease that falls into the category of an STD commits a crime or participates in it infecting other people with the disease.
  4. No specific criminalization laws.

Many states in the U.S. have laws that fall into the four categories above.

HIV and STD Criminalization Laws 2021

Criminalizing potential STDs and HIV exposure or transmission is mainly a matter of state law, with some Federal legislation addressing criminalization in discreet areas. Also, some states criminalize one or more behaviors that pose a negligible or low risk for HIV transmission.

In 12 states, the law requires individuals with HIV or other STDs who know about their status to disclose it to their sexual partners, and four states in the U.S. require the individuals to disclose their status to their “needle-sharing” partners.

You should contact a defense attorney to know more about the STD laws of your state and how you can file an STD lawsuit against your partner or someone who has transmitted the disease to you.

STD Laws in Other Countries

International laws do vary somewhat regarding the issue of STD criminalization. In general, however, all nations consider the idea of criminalization of certain STD transmissions very seriously. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the person at fault could be charged with a fine, prison time, or both depending upon the jurisdiction in question.

Many countries recognize the seriousness of the problem and take steps to combat it, although often at different levels of effectiveness. Some countries have implemented strict legislation that prohibits the transmission of STDs through a wide variety of activities.

All over the world, laws that deal specifically with the consequences of transmitting STDs remain controversial.

Punishment for Transmitting an STD in New York

Indulging in sexual activities while infected is a misdemeanor in New York; the person found guilty may face a sentence to jail of one year and a fine of up to $1,000.

In severe cases, such as reckless endangerment, which is a class D felony, the person found guilty may be punished with a sentence to jail for up to 7 years and a fine of up to $5,000.

(N.Y. Pen. Law § § 70.00, 70.15, 80.00, 80.05.)


The jury decides the punishment depending on several factors, such as the type of STD transmitted to a person and with what intention. It would be great to contact our lawyers to discuss your case. 

What are the Penalties for Transmitting an STD?

A person convicted of intentionally transmitting an STI or STD can face several criminal penalties, including severe penalties. Depending on the state laws, the crime is categorized as either a misdemeanor offense or a felony (it also depends on the severity of the case).

Regardless of the states in the U.S, getting convicted for intentional transmission of an STD can make the offender face the following types of penalties:


A person convicted of transmitting an STI and STD may be fined up to $1,000. However, state differences are extreme, and the fine can go up to $5,000 in states like New York.

Prison or Jail 

A misdemeanor conviction for infecting a person with a sexually transmitted disease may attract a sentence of up to 1-year in jail. However, a conviction that involves a felony can have a max penalty of a year or more in prison.

The potential prison sentences for this crime can differ largely entirely depending on the STD laws of the state.


In addition to fines and sentences to jail or prison, the court can also sentence an individual convicted of unlawful or intentional transmission of STD to a probation term. The duration of the probation term can last 1-3 years. However, longer terms are also possible in some cases.

Those sentenced with a probation term must comply with the probation conditions imposed by the court of law. The conditions can differ between cases, but most may include reporting to the assigned probation officer for the particular case and paying all the fines.

Sex Offender Registration

Individuals convicted of the criminal transfer of STIs and STDs may have to sign up for the state’s sex offender registry. The requirements for the sex offender registry differ from state to state. People sentenced to this penalty may have to spend around 25 years or longer at the facility assigned to them.

A lawyer invested in STD criminal laws, or a personal injury lawyer is the best person to talk to know more about the STD laws of your state. If you live in New York or LA, you can contact Levine and Blit to get assistance for an STD case. 

What Types of STDs Can You Sue Someone For?

The types of STDs you can sue your partner or someone else for majorly depends on the state laws. However, most states have categorized some severe STDs or STIs under the criminal transmission of an STD. You can sue someone if you have contracted any of the following diseases from them:


The human immune virus or HIV is an STD that eventually leads to acquired immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS. Even if you did not have intercourse for several months, it is still possible to contract HIV through a sexual partner.

No matter what stage of HIV or AIDS you are at, you can file an STD lawsuit against the person you believe has transmitted this disease to you.


As per medical science, there is no cure for the herpes simplex virus, requiring a lifetime of prescription treatment. You can sue someone for two types of herpes, including HSV 1 and HSV 2.

HPV-Induced Cervical Cancer

Also known as human papillomavirus, HPV-induced cervical cancer is a ubiquitous STD. While HPV is often harmless, you can still file a lawsuit against your partner for the mental suffering and past/anticipated medical bills.

HBV or Chronic Hepatitis B

HBV is a common liver condition and can be life-threatening in some cases. Since HBV may not have some visible symptoms, this is a significant reason for its transmission. According to the laws of some states, you can still file a lawsuit against your partner even if they were unaware that they had HBV.

Our attorneys in LA and New York can help you file lawsuits for the STDs mentioned above. To date, we have helped several clients get justice and fair compensation for the damages to their reputation and the expenses involved in treating the disease while maintaining a confidential relationship with them.

Does it Come Under the “Personal Injury Lawsuit”?

It depends on several factors, including the type of STD the affected person has transmitted to you. In most cases, if your partner has intentionally made sexual relations with you while knowing that they have an STD, they can be forced to pay personal injury damages to you as compensation.

It is a crime to intentionally or wilfully transmit infectious diseases to another person. HIV or herpes can be considered a serious bodily injury since it has a substantial risk of death. This would mean that the defendant could be charged with first-degree assault if he transmitted these diseases to his victim.

At Levine and Blit, we are professional personal injury lawyers that can help you file an STD lawsuit against your partner. We’ll assist you throughout the process while helping you prove the claims in court, if legit.

How Can You Sue Someone for Not Telling You They Had an STD?

You can sue someone for not telling you that they had an STD under four possible claims. Each claim requires a specific burden of proof which lies on the plaintiff or you.

Sexual Battery

The sexual battery lets you sue a person for transmitting an STD. Sexual battery refers to rape or sexual contact without consent. Effectively, you can file a lawsuit against the offender, claiming that the intercourse resulted in the contraction of an STD.

Negligence in STD Infection

If you have a reason to believe that your sexual partner knew or had known they have an STD, you can sue them for negligence. With the help of an STD lawyer or personal injury attorney, you need to prove that your partner did not disclose their STD status before making sexual contact.


You could sue someone if they misinterpreted or lied about their STD status to you. For example, they told you that they don’t have an STD, but they had.

Wrongful Transmission of STDs

Many states have legislation that requires individuals with an STD to tell their partners about their STD status before getting into any sexual encounter. If your partner did not tell you about their STD status, you have a solid ground to sue them with an STD lawsuit.

How Do I File a Lawsuit?

To file a lawsuit against your sexual partner, your attorney must prove their liability by showing that your partner acted negligently about their STD status and did not disclose it to you.

A lawyer will help you sue someone with a civil lawsuit and criminal charges based on the circumstances and the severity of the STD you have contracted.

What Type of Lawyer Do You Need for an STD Case?

You should have professional attorneys invested in STD laws that understand the nuances of such cases and can help you seek full and fair compensation. Moreover, the attorneys should know the local state laws and have passionate representatives who can represent your case before a jury and win.

Contact Levine and Blit to File an STD Lawsuit

If you have been infected with an STD you believe is transferred by your partner, you can hold them responsible for it with the help of our experienced lawyers.

Levine and Blit is a law firm experienced in high-profile litigation against corporate giants in the adult industry and general STD cases between spouses.

We can help you sue someone for giving you STDs while keeping the sensitive or confidential information discreet and assisting you in getting fair compensation for the damages.

Call us today at 866-392-2182 for a free case evaluation, and hire the best STD lawyers in New York.

Contact Levine & Blit, PLLC

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