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Do You Legally Have To Tell Someone You Have Herpes

Put Genital Herpes In Context

How to Tell Your Partner You Have an STD | Health

People may have an irrational, inaccurate perception of genital herpes. Since its a sexually transmitted virus, they may group it in the dangerous STDs category of their mind, often beside diseases and viruses with much more severe symptoms.

Because of this, its often necessary to follow up the I have herpes part of the conversation with some quick statistics to provide context.

One way to do this is to let your partner know how common it is. According to the World Health Organization, when it comes to HSV-2, an estimated 11 percent of the world population ages 15 to 49 have the virus meaning you can correctly and accurately let your partner know that at least one in ten people is infected with the virus.

To put it in context, you can ask your partner to imagine that one in ten of the people they met that day have the exact same confession to make at some point, assuming they know theyre infected. Sometimes, this is all it takes to put genital herpes in context as a common type of virus.

Example Disclosure Of Diagnosis

I like how things are going in our relationship, and Im hoping well end up in bed sometime soon. Before we do, I wanted to let you know that I have genital herpes. I take suppressive therapy and havent had an outbreak in a while, so the risk of passing it to you is low.

Still, its not zero, so I wanted you to have a chance to think about it before we get intimate. You dont need to respond right now. When, and if, youre ready, Im happy to talk with you more or to just send you some information.

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Facts About Cold Sores

Cold sores usually appear as a single watery blister on the lip or mouth, or several blisters that consolidate into one.

They are usually caused by herpes simplex virus-1 . HSV-1 is the cousin of HSV-2, which is primarily associated with genital herpes.

However, HSV-1 can also lead to genital herpes during oral sex and HSV-2 can sometimes lead to cold sores.

HSV-1 is very common. About 67% of the world’s population under age 50 has HSV-1.

Cold sores affect roughly 3 of every 1,000 people each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Of these, 33% will experience subsequent attacks triggered by stress, fever, and other causes.

Once you have HSV-1 it doesn’t go away. If you develop a cold sore, the virus can spread more easily.

Cold sores are typically spread through saliva and direct contact. You can get them through kissing or sharing lip balm with someone who has a cold sore.

Cold sores can be painful and may take up to 14 days before active healing begins.

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Criminal Versus Civil Court

The law of the state you live in determines whether transmitting herpes to another person may be considered a crime or only a matter of civil law, or both.

Criminal court

In states where transmitting herpes to another person can be a crime in the right circumstances, it is punishable with imprisonment or a fine.

When someone files a criminal complaint, the police will investigate and collect evidence.

If you transmitted herpes knowingly , you can be found guilty of a misdemeanor, which is punishable with up to one year of imprisonment or a fine .

Civil court

In most states, if you knowingly pass an infection to another person, you can be sued for monetary damages under common law tort principles.

When making a decision, civil courts rely on economic, ethical, and legal principles, including previous similar cases.

What Should You Discuss About Herpes

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Talk about when it is safe to have sex. “Some important information to share would be whether or not you have frequent outbreaks, which is the highest risk time for transmission,” Dr. Baldwin said. Avoid sexual activity during a symptom outbreak, or if you have pain or tingling in the areas you get lesions since that can be a warning sign of an outbreak.

You should also tell your partner if you are on any antiviral medications. Taken daily, drugs like acyclovir and valacyclovir , can significantly reduce the risk of herpes transmissionbut not 100%. You should use condoms even while taking these drugs, but condoms cannot fully prevent the virus from spreading because the virus can spread on genital areas not covered by a condom.

As long as you’re honest and safe, herpes shouldn’t kill a budding relationship. “From my point of view, I don’t think it’s a deal-breaker,” Warren said.

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Reduce The Risk Sex Will Spread Herpes

One of the things that scares people when theyre thinking about dating with herpes is the risk for potential partners. Theyre concerned about the possibility that they might spread herpes to someone they care about. This is a legitimate concern.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the likelihood you will spread herpes during sex. Suppressive therapy, for example, can lower the risk of transmission significantly. Its not just good for reducing the number and severity of outbreaks.

Using condoms consistently, even for oral sex, can also make a big difference in your partners risk. Condoms and dental dams dont just make intercourse safer. They also make it less likely for you to spread herpes from your genitals to their mouth, and vice versa. Practicing safe sex is always a good choice.

Why Genital Herpes Comes Back

Genital herpes is caused by a virus called herpes simplex. Once you have the virus, it stays in your body.

It will not spread in your body to cause blisters elsewhere. It stays in a nearby nerve and causes blisters in the same area.

If you can, avoid things that trigger your symptoms.

Triggers can include:

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Choose The Right Moment

Its good to initiate this conversation when you and your partner are alone and free from distractions. There may not be a perfect time, but some moments are better than others. Avoid times when other major conflicts or stressors are occurring.

Once youre alone and comfortable, broach the subject with your partner. Stay focused and use the following techniques to help you share the information clearly and succinctly.

A Civil Lawsuit Is Also A Possibility

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Not telling a partner that you have an STD and passing that STD on could expose a person to civil liability for assault. An infected partner could sue for personal injuries alleging negligence.

Negligence is based on a number of elements, all of which must be proven.

  • Duty The question here is whether the infected person has a duty to warn their partner of their infection.
  • Breach of Duty Does the infected person breach their duty in knowingly failing to warn?
  • Direct and Proximate Causation Was the injury to the partner actually caused by the defendants failure to inform the partner? Was it foreseeable to a reasonable person that failing to inform could result in injury?
  • Damages Is there actual and compensable harm to the plaintiff?

Each of these elements must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. The burden, while substantial, can be met. Ask your attorney for more information.

An attorney can help you understand your duty to warn and what may happen if you knowingly fail to do so. Likewise, if you are a victim and believe that a partner knowingly failed to warn, you may have questions. Bring your questions to a trusted attorney.

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Spreading Hiv Is A Felony In Ohio

Generally, having sex with an STD and not telling your partner would fall under the category of a misdemeanor. However, if you have HIV or another serious STD that could result in death, you could be charged with a felony.

Ohio Revised Code §2903.11 makes it a felony if you:

  • Know that you have HIV AND,
  • Engage in sexual conduct with someone without telling that person that you are HIV positive.

You could also be charged with a felony if you are HIV positive and have sex with a minor or anyone who lacks the mental capacity to understand the risks of unprotected sex, even if you tell them you are HIV positive. Sexual conduct covers a wide range of activities, including intercourse, oral sex, and touching any erogenous zone.

The prosecutor may choose to charge you with one or more felonies, including:

  • Aggravated assault
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Attempted murder

The penalties depend on the facts of the case and the specific charge. However, a conviction could result in multiple years in prison, substantial fines, and other penalties.

It Is Illegal To Have Sexual Relations In New York Without First Disclosing That You Have An Std

Under New York law, 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.

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To Tell Or Not To Tell About Genital Herpes Or Cold Sores

It’s natural to be concerned about telling a new partner that you have genital herpes. Fear of being rejected and perhaps being uncomfortable about sexual health concerns makes it a tricky subject to bring up. However, it is more likely that your partner will respect your openness and honesty and it will be an opportunity to take your relationship to a deeper level of trust and understanding.

There are no black and white rules for telling your partner you have herpes, and everyone needs to make their own decisions depending on the situation, but the fact is more people are accepted by new partners than rejected for having genital herpes.

Some people choose not to tell casual partners. They don’t have sex during an outbreak and practice safe sex by using condoms. And this is an OK decision.

In a relationship, “not telling” can cause anxiety and stress affecting your emotional and sexual health.For most people the anxiety over not telling is worse than the telling itself and they find their partners both supportive and understanding. By telling your partner, you are opening up the opportunity to have an honest and shared discussion about other sexual health concerns.

Are You Legally Required To Tell Someone If You Have An Std Like Herpes

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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 youre required to let someone know about your condition.

You dont 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.

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Criminal Transmission Of Hiv And Other Stds

Criminal transmission of an STD commonly encompasses different types of diseases. Though state laws differ, they typically include HIV as well as other communicable or contagious sexually transmitted diseases. Some state laws list the individual diseases covered by name, while others use more general language that includes any type of communicable or sexually transmitted disease.

A person can spread HIV but not AIDS. AIDS is a late-stage condition of HIV, not a virus itself.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Diagnosed With Herpes

As with any diagnosis of a medical condition a diagnosis of genital herpes can be upsetting and distressing. It will take time to adjust. You will probably have a lot of questions about it. Seeing a supportive health care provider at a sexual health clinic to discuss management, ask questions and get accurate information is important. If you dont have a sexual health or family planning clinic near you, find a GP that you trust and can develop a good relationship with. Avoid Googling, there is a lot of misinformation out there and its hard to tell what is correct and what isnt! See the websites below for accurate and helpful information. It may also be helpful to see a sexual counsellor who is informed about herpes and can assist you in dealing with a diagnosis, with any feelings and concerns you may have, and with approaches to use when talking to a partner.

Useful websites for more information

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Pick The Right Setting

In addition to language, the setting can affect the outcome, too. Dont interrupt what your partner is doing to break the news. That is, dont call them at work, or barge into a room and say, Hey, we have to talk. Thats how you might deliver news of a death in the family or start an argument.

The right setting is a relaxing one, just the two of you, where there wont be any distractions. A conversation over a quiet dinner or a walk in the park is preferable to a bowling alley or the supermarket.

The worst time to tell, other than after having sex, is during foreplay or when your clothes are already off. That would not only spoil the mood, but it could also annoy your partner.

It is usually best to let the topic come up naturally in conversation. That way, it will seem less like a bombshell and more like any other development in your life. For example, you could say, Just so you know, my doctor called me yesterday with some test results, and said I have the virus that causes genital herpes.

If youve never slept with the person before, its not impolite to ask if they have any sexually transmitted diseases. You could start the conversation by being the first one to ask. Its possible that they might start giving you the same herpes information you had been preparing to give.

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Can You Be Charged With Manslaughter Or Attempted Murder For Spreading Hiv

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It’s possible to be charged with attempted murder if you know that you have HIV yet still engage in unprotected sex without telling your partner. While laws vary from state to state, a person usually commits the crime of attempted murder by intentionally attempting to cause the death of another. People act intentionally when they act with a particular purpose or design. Under general principles of criminal law, any substantial step towards a crime can be an attempt.

In order to convict a person of attempted murder for failing to tell a sex partner about an HIV infection, the prosecutor must show that the defendant knew they were HIV-positive, knew HIV could be spread through unprotected sex, engaged in unprotected sex, and intended to infect someone and ultimately cause their death.

Attempted manslaughter charges might be possible, depending on how the law is written. Manslaughter doesn’t involve intent to kill someone, rather it’s based on criminally reckless conduct. Given that HIV is no longer the death sentence it used to be for infected individuals, it would be difficult for a prosecutor to prove someone’s reckless conduct creates an unreasonable risk of death or great bodily harm.

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Advise Your Current And Previous Sexual Partner/s

It is imperative that you talk to your current and previous sexual partners and advise them of their possible exposure to an STI. Again, we know this can be a difficult conversation to have, but there are services and resources that can make this process much easier. If you need advice or assistance with letting past or present partners know either personally or anonymously consider using a service such as Let Them Know, The Drama Downunder or Better to Know. Head on over to our Resources page for more information.

Genital Herpes Treatment In Pregnancy

You may be offered antiviral treatment:

  • to treat outbreaks in pregnancy
  • from 36 weeks to reduce the chance of an outbreak during birth
  • from diagnosis until the birth if you first get herpes after 28 weeks of pregnancy

Many women with genital herpes have a vaginal delivery. You may be offered a caesarean, depending on your circumstances.

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Spreading Herpes Could Result In Assault Charges In Ohio

Two consenting adults having sex is generally not cause for criminal charges. However, if you have herpes or another STD and fail to inform your partner, you could be charged with assault.

Ohio Revised Code §2903.13 defines assault as knowingly causing or attempting to cause another person physical harm. So, how could having herpes result in an assault charge?

First, you have to know that you have herpes and engage in sex with another person. The law does not require that you intentionally try to give herpes to another person. It only requires that you knowingly have sex with another person.

Knowingly means that you had sex with another person when you knew you had herpes and that you could cause harm to that person by giving them herpes, but you choose to have sex without informing the person of the risk.

It does not matter whether the person caught herpes from having sex with you. An assault charge does not require you to cause physical harm. You can be charged with assault because you attempted to cause physical harm.

Having unprotected sex when you know you have herpes without telling your partner may be sufficient for a jury to find you attempted to cause harm.

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