You may be legally required to tell someone you have herpes under Florida law. However, your legal obligation to tell another person you have herpes depends on several specific factors. 

The consequences of failing to inform a partner that you have herpes include potential criminal charges and a civil lawsuit for damages. 

What is Herpes?

Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD). If you are sexually active, you could contract herpes. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 572,000 new herpes infections occurred in 2018 among people between the ages of 14 and 49 years. 

A herpes outbreak generally causes one or more blisters to form around the genitals, mouth, or rectum. The blisters cause painful sores that can take more than a week to heal. Additionally, the outbreak may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms, including swollen glands, body aches, and fever. 

There is no cure for genital herpes. However, some medications can help shorten or prevent outbreaks. In addition, daily medications can reduce the risk of passing the infection to a sexual partner. 

A person may have outbreaks periodically for the rest of their life. However, some people may experience less severe or fewer outbreaks as time passes.

Some people may not know that they have an STD because they are asymptomatic or have mistaken a mild symptom for another condition. Unfortunately, herpes can be transmitted even though a person doesn’t exhibit any symptoms. 

Florida Laws Regarding Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with STD 

Florida Statute §384.24 states that it is unlawful for someone who has genital herpes simplex to have sexual intercourse with another person if:

  • The infected person knows they have the disease; 
  • The infected person was informed that they could transfer the disease to another person through sexual intercourse; and
  • The other person was not informed of the STD and did not consent to sexual intercourse after being told of the STD.

The other person does not need to contract herpes for an infected person to be guilty of the crime. If the infected person knowingly had sexual intercourse without obtaining informed consent, they could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. The punishment may include up to a $1,000 fine and one year in jail.

Can I Sue Someone for Giving Me Herpes in Florida?

Yes, you can file a personal injury lawsuit if someone gives you herpes. However, you must prove the elements of a negligence claim to win the case. You have the burden of proving that your partner knew or should have known that they had herpes before having sexual intercourse and failed to inform you or prevent the risk of transmission.

Elements of Negligence in a Herpes Lawsuit

Proving someone is liable for damages caused by their conduct generally requires the plaintiff to prove the elements of negligence. Negligence is the failure to take reasonable care to prevent harm or injury to another person.

The elements of a negligence claim include:

An infected person has a duty to tell their partner about an STD before having sex. Evidence of a positive herpes test before you had intercourse could help prove the defendant’s knowledge of the disease. However, suppose the person had never tested positive for herpes and hadn’t gotten a recent STD test. In that case, it could be challenging to prove that the person had actual knowledge they were infected. Then the question is whether the infected person should have known they had herpes. For example, if someone has a blister around their genitals but fails to get tested, they can’t use their lack of knowledge as a defense. A reasonable person in those circumstances would have been tested or abstained from sexual intercourse. 

The breach of duty could include the infected person’s failure to inform the plaintiff of the STD before sexual intercourse, the failure to obtain a diagnosis if the person wasn’t tested, or the failure to prevent transmission by abstaining from sex. 

Causation requires that you prove that you contracted herpes because of the infected person’s act or omission. In other words, you would not have herpes if not for the defendant.

Damages could include physical injury, long-term consequences of having herpes, and economic damages. You could also receive compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm Of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers To Get The Help You Deserve

If you need help with your injury case or you want to learn more information, please call the Personal Injury law firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers at (727) 787-2500 or visit the nearest location to schedule a free case evaluation today.

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