Law Offices of Nooney Roberts Hewett & Nowicki :


According to Florida law, you can be required by law to disclose to someone that you have herpes. However, whether you are required by law to disclose to another person that you have herpes depends on a number of unique criteria. 

If you conceal the fact that you have herpes from a partner, you expose yourself to the possibility of facing criminal charges as well as a civil case seeking compensation for damages. 

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted illness that affects a significant number of people[1]. If you engage in sexual activity, you run the risk of contracting herpes. According to estimates provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 572,000 new cases of herpes diagnosed in persons aged 14 to 49 years old in the year 2018[2]

A herpes outbreak will often result in the formation of one or more blisters around the mouth or rectum, as well as the vaginal area[3]. The blisters result in uncomfortable sores that can take up to two weeks to cure completely. In addition, the outbreak could be accompanied by symptoms similar to those of the flu, such as swollen glands, body pains, and a high temperature[4]

Genital herpes cannot be cured at this time. However, there are drugs that can either decrease the duration of an outbreak or assist avoid it altogether. In addition, taking the prescribed treatment on a regular basis might lessen the likelihood of transmitting the virus to a sexual partner. 

It's possible that someone will continue to have breakouts on a regular basis for the remainder of their lives. On the other hand, some people could find that their symptoms get less severe or that they have fewer breakouts as time goes on. 

Some individuals may be unaware that they have an STD either because they do not have any symptoms associated with the disease or because they have confused a mild symptom with another health issue. Unfortunately, a person can still spread the herpes virus even if they do not show any symptoms of having the disease. 

Florida Law Regarding Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with STD

According to Florida law[5], it is a crime for a person who is infected with genital herpes simplex to engage in sexual activity with another individual under the following circumstances: 

The person who is infected is aware that they have the illness; The person who is infected is aware that they can pass the disease on to another person via sexual contact; The other person was not informed of the STD and did not agree to sexual intercourse after being notified of the STD. 

An infected individual can be found guilty of the offense even if the other person does not get herpes as a result of the interaction. It is possible for the infected individual to be prosecuted with a first-degree misdemeanor if they intentionally engaged in sexual activity with another person without first getting their informed permission. The punishment might consist of a fine of up to $1,000 and a prison sentence of up to one year[6]

Can I File a Lawsuit Against Someone in Florida for Giving Me Herpes? 

If you get herpes from another individual, you have the legal right to sue that person for bodily damage. However, in order to prevail in the lawsuit, you will need to show the components of a negligence claim. You are the one who is responsible for establishing that your partner knew or should have known that they were infected with herpes before to engaging in sexual activity with you but chose not to tell you or take any precautions to reduce the risk of transmission. 

Negligence Elements

In order for a plaintiff to be successful in their claim that another party is accountable for damages caused by their behavior, they often need to demonstrate that the defendant acted negligently. The failure to exercise reasonable care in order to protect another person from suffering harm or injury is the definition of negligence. 

The following are elements of a claim for negligence: 

  • Duty of care
  • Breach of duty
  • Causation
  • Damages

Before engaging in sexual activity, a person who is infected has a responsibility to inform their partner that they have an STD. A positive herpes test result obtained prior to having sexual contact might be used as evidence to demonstrate that the defendant was aware of the condition.

But let's say that the individual in question had never had a positive herpes test and hadn't undergone an STD test in quite some time. In this scenario, it could be difficult to demonstrate that the person had genuine knowledge that they were infected with the virus.

The next issue to ask is whether or not the individual who was infected should have been aware that they had herpes.

For instance, if a person develops a blister around their genital area but chooses not to be examined, they cannot utilize the fact that they are unaware of the condition as a defense. Under those conditions, a reasonable person would have chosen to be tested or would have chosen to abstain from sexual activity. 

The breach of duty may include the infected person's failure to inform the plaintiff of the STD before engaging in sexual activity with them, the infected person's failure to obtain a diagnosis in the event that they were not tested, or the infected person's failure to prevent transmission by abstaining from sexual activity. 

In order to establish causation, you must demonstrate that you became infected with herpes as a direct result of the behavior of the individual who initially exposed you to the virus. In other words, you would not have herpes if the defendant had not exposed you to the virus. 

Damages might include things like physical harm, long-term effects of having herpes, and financial losses. You may also be entitled to compensation for non-economic losses, such as the pain and suffering you have had as a result of the incident. 

Call Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki Today! 

If you or a loved one has been infected with herpes by a negligent individual, it is highly recommended that you seek the counsel of an attorney.

The attorneys at Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki have decades of combined legal experience fighting for victims of personal injury. Our expert legal team can help you along this complicated and intricate process.

Please do not go through this process alone.

Call us at (904) 398-1992 or fill out a quick form to schedule a free initial consultation with our aggressive negligent security attorneys! ¡Hablamos español!

We serve clients throughout Florida, including, but not limited to, those in the following localities: Duval County including Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville, and Jacksonville Beach; Hillsborough County including Brandon, Riverview, and Tampa; Leon County including Tallahassee and Woodville; Orange County including Ocoee, Orlando, and Winter Garden; St. Lucie County including Fort Pierce, Lakewood Park, and Port St. Lucie; and Walton County including DeFuniak Springs, Miramar Beach, and Santa Rosa Beach.

[1] Genital Herpes Fact Sheet, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, (last visited July 18, 2022).

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] FLA. STAT. § 384.24

[6] FLA. STAT. § 384.34(1). See § 775.082.

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Jacksonville, FL 32207
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