Can I sue someone for neglect to disclose the fact that they had an STD?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I sue someone for neglect to disclose the fact that they had an STD?

Over summer my boyfriend of 3 years cheated on me and was tested
towards the end of summer and tests came up negative for all STDs.
Last week I was feeling discomfort and went to a gynecologist today
and found out I have herpes. Me and my partner have not been with
anyone else since. She never told him she had herpes or any other STD
so I’d like to sue her for negligence.

Asked on March 12, 2019 under Personal Injury, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

At a minimum, you'd have to show that she knew *at the time* she had relations with your boyfriend that she had a disease but knowing of it, failed to tell him, since obviously, if she herself did not know, she did nothing wrong. 
Also, while the law is fairly clear that he could sue her if she knew but failed to tell him, *you* may not be able to. To oversimplify, the law limits how far "out" a person can be from an act or event and sue, because a person is only liable for the reasonably foreseeable consequences of the action. Once many other decisions or factors come into play between the act and the consequence, it is not reasonably foreseeable. She had sex with your boyfriend; she did not have sex with you and did not know you would be exposed indirectly to any disease she had. She did not cause your boyfriend, with whom you thought you had an exclusive relationship, to cheat on you. She did not cause your boyfriend to not take precautions, since he had been with another woman, to avoid infecting you (since disease was a possibility), or to (if he failed to tell you) not disclose promptly to you his cheating, so could make an informed decision whether to be intimate with him or to withhold intimacy until he was tested for a disease (or if he did promptly tell you, she did not cause you to have sex with him without insisting he be tested first); etc. That is, there are too many other variables, factors, and actions/decisions by other people in between her infecting him and you getting infected, so that a law might find a lack of "proximate cause," or an insufficiently foreseeable (by her) causal link, and so not hold her accountable to you, even if she had knowledge.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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