Herpes and other STDs can have a significant impact on your life. However, they can also impact the lives of your sexual partners. If you have an STD, you may wonder whether you’re required to let someone know about your condition.

You don’t need to tell everyone about your STD. However, New York law requires you to disclose this information to a sexual partner before engaging in sexual acts that can result in the transmission of an STD.

It is Illegal to Have Sexual Relations in New York Without First Disclosing That You Have an STD

Under New York law, “[a]ny person who, knowing himself or herself to be infected with an infectious venereal disease, has sexual intercourse with another shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”

The wording of the law is somewhat confusing. It often applies to cases where a person with an STD has sex with someone else without telling them about their illness. For example, the law might not apply to a couple that both have HIV and engage in consensual sexual relations.

Cases in which someone knowingly infects another with an STD are unique in New York. They may qualify as both criminal cases and tort cases.

Tort Cases Involving Transmission of an STD in New York

A tort is an action (or lack of action) that causes harm to another. Usually, a tort involves some form of negligence.

Under tort law, someone could sue you for infecting them with an STD, especially if you failed to tell them about your condition. They could seek compensation for their economic and non-economic damages related to their condition. 

Economic damages cover financial losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Non-economic damages cover personal losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and reduced quality of life. Non-economic damages could be significant in cases involving STDs.

Additionally, a court may be inclined to award punitive damages against a defendant for not disclosing that they had an STD before sex. Courts award punitive damages to punish a party for extreme negligence or intentional misconduct. 

Living with an STD can be challenging for many reasons. You must consider your responsibilities and duties whenever preparing for sexual contact. Always let someone know you have an STD before the moment arrives.

Proving Negligence When Someone Doesn’t Mention Their STD

Victims may have the right to seek compensation after contracting an STD from a partner. A victim might seek compensation if they were infected as a result of non-consensual sex. 

Or, they may seek compensation if they agreed to have sex with someone who had an STD. This might occur if they agreed to have sex with someone if they used adequate protection. If they can prove they were infected because their sexual partner did not use protection, they may file a lawsuit. Knowingly transmitting an STD can be considered a form of assault.

However, victims should know that proving negligence in these cases may be difficult. Factors such as STD incubation periods can influence whether someone knowingly infected another with an STD. Additionally, when two people agree to engage in sexual intercourse, they’re typically alone. Their testimony may conflict about whether a partner disclosed their STD.

Enlisting the help of a qualified attorney will give you the best odds or recovering compensation.