The thought of contracting an STD is a scary thought for people. Not only could an STD be life-threatening, but it could also bring on embarrassment for the other person, as well as stop them from having a child. If you’ve contracted an STD from your partner or someone else, you may be thinking to yourself, “What are my options? Could I be able to sue this person for giving me an STD?” California law prohibits the transmission of STDs to other people. Here’s what you need to know about transmitting an STD and how to sue.

Is intentionally transmitting an STD a crime?

California health and safety law prohibits the intentional transmission of any kind of STD to another person. An STD could be defined as any disease relating or infectious to the reproductive organs. This includes:


In order to be held liable under intentionally transmitting an STD, one must prove that the defendant:

-Knew that they were infected with an STD, and did nothing or said nothing
-Knew that a third party was infected with an STD and said nothing
-Had attempted something that poses an infection risk
-Had actually transmitted the STD to the victim.

Although the state imposes these requirements that the defendant must meet, it’s important to note that negligence doesn’t require intent. The defendant could be still found negligent if they had used a condom and still had given the STD to the victim.

Someone infected with an STD could be held criminally liable for willfully transmitting an STD. Willfully transmitting disease is defined as a doctor telling a patient to not engage in certain activities that pose a risk of transmission. If the patient engages in this conduct within 4 days, they would be held criminally liable.

How could I sue someone for transmitting an STD?

To start out with a claim, contact an attorney. Explain what happened to you and the circumstances surrounding them. Your attorney would first start off by asking you a few questions about the defendant:

-Does the defendant have medical documents proving that they knew about their disease?
-Did the defendant disclose to you that they were infectious or had an STD?
-Did you or the defendant take any measures to prevent STD transmission?

Of course, some of these questions require discovery and documents that you probably do not have. Your attorney would file suit and collect the evidence and documents needed. Some compensation you could receive include pain and suffering, compensatory damages, medical bills, prescription payments, emotional distress, and more. Each case is different, so the amount of compensation awarded is different. Your attorney would fill you in on just how much your case could be worth.

What are the penalties for STD transmission?

California law prohibits the intentional or willful transmission of an STD to another person. Transmitting an STD to another person is a misdemeanor, which can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and/or 6 months in jail. Attempted transmission of an STD is also a misdemeanor and can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail.

Are there any legal defenses?

Those who are accused of transmitting a sexually transmitted disease have a few defense options. They include:

-The person did not know they were infected at the time
-Measures were taken to prevent the transmission
-The defendant had told the victim that they were infected before having intercourse
-The STD was transmitted through an organ donation, tissue, or breast milk donation
-The defendant followed their prescribed STD treatment plan strictly
-The risk of transmission was low

Proving that prevention measures were taken would be the first step an attorney would go about. This allows for the next defense to be that the risk of transmission was low. Contact an attorney to find out more legal defense options.

Contact Pride Legal

If you or a loved one has contracted an STD from their partner or a third party, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.