Can criminal charges be filed against someone for transmitting an STD?

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Can criminal charges be filed against someone for transmitting an STD?

Not HIV/AIDs

Asked on August 10, 2011 Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It depends on the circumstances. While other STDS (not HIV/AIDS) are only rarely fatal (though note: untreated gonerhea(sp?) or syphillis(sp?) can--and have in the past--caused death over time), they still can cause illness, disability, disfigurement, etc. Moreover, whether something more generally is an assault of any kind depends less on the injury done to the victim and more on the intent--trying to shoot someone with a gun, after all, is still assault with a deadly weapon and/or attempted murder, even if you miss. So it is with a disease--if you knowingly tried to give someone an STD, or even potentially did so with reckless or gross indiffernce to the consequences (knew you had it, just didn't care), that could result in criminal charges. On the other hand, if you didn't know you had it, or thought you had taken adequate precautions, and especially if you had told your partner, so they made a choice to take the chance, it should not result in criminal liability.


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