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Criminal charges

sexually transmitted diseases

In many states it is a criminal offense to intentionally or recklessly transmit a sexually transmitted disease (STD or venereal disease) to another person. Examples of such diseases include HIV/AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), genital warts, and hepatitis B.

Laws vary from state to state, and in some states these laws include other infectious or communicable diseases. In some states there is a specific criminal offense for transmission of sexually transmitted or communicable diseases, and in other states criminal prosecutors charge the defendant with a more general crime like assault.

Laws regarding criminal liability for the intentional or reckless transmission of sexual or other infectious or communicable diseases are generally located in a state’s statutes—often in the penal or criminal code, or the health and safety code.

A person who negligently transmits a sexually transmitted disease to another person through sexual contact—without informing the other person of the offender’s infection before the sexual contact—may also be subject to civil liability for money damages in a lawsuit.

In Texas, the intentional or reckless transmission of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) can lead to criminal charges. Texas law specifically addresses the transmission of HIV under Texas Health and Safety Code Section 81.085, which makes it a crime to knowingly engage in behaviors that could transmit HIV without disclosing the infection to the partner before engaging in such behavior. This can be prosecuted as a state jail felony. For other STDs, while there is no specific statute that criminalizes the transmission, individuals could potentially be charged under general criminal statutes such as assault or aggravated assault if the transmission is done intentionally or recklessly. Additionally, Texas law allows for civil liability, meaning that a person who negligently transmits an STD without informing their partner can be sued for damages.

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