Are You Legally Required To Tell Someone You Have Herpes?

You could be required by law to tell someone you have herpes in Florida. Failing to do so could result in criminal charges. You could also be sued for damages in civil court.

What Is Florida’s Law for Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with a Sexually Transmitted Disease?

Florida statute §384.24 makes it illegal for anyone with one or more of the listed STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) to have sexual intercourse with another person without telling that person about the STD. The law requires that you knew you were infected and were informed that you could transfer the disease to another person through sexual intercourse. 

However, if the person was informed of the STD and consented to sexual intercourse, it is not a crime. Nonetheless, this can be challenging to prove; it is your word against their word, absent any other evidence proving who knew what and when.

The list of STDs in the statute includes:

  • Nongonococcal urethritis (NGU) 
  • Genital Herpes Simplex
  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)/Acute Salpingitis
  • Lymphogranuloma Venereum
  • Granuloma Inguinale
  • Syphilis

Can you go to jail for giving someone herpes in Florida? In short, yes – you can. A charge for unlawfully transmitting or exposing someone to an STD through sex is a misdemeanor of the first degree. The offense is punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to one year in county jail. 

How Can I Contract Genital Herpes?

Genital herpes is caused by the HSV-1 (herpes simplex virus type 1) or the HSV-2 (herpes simplex virus type 2) virus. It is spread through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. It is a common sexually transmitted disease. 

You can get genital herpes by coming into contact with the following:

  • A herpes sore
  • Skin in the genital areas 
  • Genital fluids
  • Saliva 
  • Skin in the oral area

The person does not need to have a visible sore or know they are infected to spread the disease. There is no cure for genital herpes, but some medications can help prevent or shorten outbreaks. 

An outbreak of genital herpes can cause blisters around the mouth, genitals, or rectum. The blisters are painful and could take a week or more to heal. In addition, a person with a genital herpes outbreak could experience fever, body aches, swollen glands, on other flu-like symptoms.

Can I Be Sued in Florida for Having Sex if I Have Genital Herpes?

You are legally required to tell someone you have herpes in Florida if you intend to have sex with them. If not, you could be charged with a crime. You could also face a lawsuit in civil court.

A civil lawsuit alleging someone gave you herpes requires you to prove the following:

  • The other person knew they had herpes before having sexual intercourse with you; AND,
  • The person intentionally hid the information from you.

For example, the person received the results from a positive herpes test before having sex with you. You do not need to prove the person intentionally tried to infect you with herpes. It is sufficient to prove the elements of negligence to win the personal injury case.

Negligence is acting without reasonable care for the safety of others. Jurors would likely assume that a reasonable person would tell a person they had herpes before having sex. Therefore, your act of concealing the herpes diagnosis is a breach of duty

You could be liable for damages if your breach of duty directly and proximately caused the personal injury or harm. In a personal injury case for herpes, the person would not have contracted herpes had it not been for your conduct. Therefore, you are responsible for causing the person harm.

What Damages Can I Receive for a Personal Injury Lawsuit Regarding Herpes?

The compensation you receive depends on the damages and harm you incur because someone exposed you to herpes without telling you. If you prove the elements of a personal injury case, you could receive compensation for your economic damages, including:

Contracting herpes can cause emotional distress and mental anguish. You now have an incurable sexually transmitted disease. Therefore, you could also receive compensation for non-economic damages, including the pain and suffering caused by the diagnosis.

A St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

Proving your case could be challenging. You must prove that the person owed you a duty of care and breached that duty of care. You must also have evidence proving the breach of duty caused you to suffer harm and damages. 

A St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer can help you by gathering evidence and preparing a case to prove you deserve fair compensation for the damages caused by a reckless or careless person.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm – Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys

Contact a St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer at Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys and schedule a free case review today.

Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys

700 7th Ave N Suite B
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 933-0015