Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

STDs – Criminal Offence? Just check out!

Healthcare Pharmaceuticals

California is the state wherein intentional transmission of STD is a crime. In other words, California Health and Safety Code 120290 has prohibited transmission of STD, that too, if it’s intentional. Those who are infected could be liable even if they end up involving a third party for transmitting their STD to someone else.

It needs to be noted that criminal laws related to STD transmission did go through major alterations in the year 2018. One of them was that California does not discriminate between HIV/AIDS and the other STDs. The STDs are thus inclusive of AIDs, HIV, Clamydia, Gonorrhea, or Herpes.

The liabilities under Health and Safety Code 120290 include the following:

  • The defendant knew that he/she/third party had been infected with STD
  • The defendant had intentionally transmitted STD to the other person
  • The one contracting STD does something posing risk of transmission
  • The STD has been transmitted to victim

What exactly is the wilful transmission of STD?

Willful transmission of STD needs a doctor to tell defendant to not involve in the conduct that could prove to be risky of transmitting disease. If the same defendant still engages in that course of conduct, that too, within 4 days, he/she could easily be liable.

Instances of STD transmission to be treated as a crime

  • Being deliberate in trying to get many people infected with HIV
  • Forcing an ex-girlfriend to go for intercourse with someone having herpes
  • Being advised to not have intercourse on getting diagnosed with Gonorrhea, but then having intercourse the same night

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released data that the period from 2015 to 2019 alone witnessed 30% rise in infections like gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and syphilis in California. It is the very first state mandating private insurance for covering at-home testing for STDs. Host Scott Tong, along with Stephaine Arnold Pang (senior director of policy and government relations at National Coalition of STD directors), has gone on records regarding this law. He has also stated that the basic objective is to check the growing incidences of STDs.


With California coming across as the pioneer with respect to STD-related laws, the other states are likely to follow suit in the next few years. In a nutshell, with this breakthrough, the entire healthcare sector is expected to witness a turbulence going forward. In a way, it’s a good move to combat something like STDs in the upcoming period.

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