No, in Pennsylvania you are generally not legally required to tell someone you have herpes. However, if you knowingly engage in sexual activity with that person, you could face criminal and civil penalties for failing to tell the person you have herpes. 

Therefore, if you are accused of knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) in Pennsylvania, you may want to talk to a West Chester criminal defense lawyer immediately.

Note:  DiCindio Law, LLC does not handle civil cases involving the transmission of an STD from one partner to another. This is for informational purposes only. 

What is Herpes?

Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can be passed to another person through sexual intercourse. Genital herpes infects hundreds of thousands of people each year. 

There is no cure for herpes. It can cause painful breakouts for the rest of the person’s life. 

Herpes begins as a blister before turning into a painful sore that can last for more than a week. The blisters appear around the person’s genitals, rectum, or mouth. The person may experience fever, swollen glands, body aches, and other flu-like symptoms during a herpes outbreak.

Doctors may prescribe medications that can prevent or shorten outbreaks. Some daily herpes medications can reduce the risk of passing the STD to another person. In some cases, individuals may experience fewer breakouts in the future.

Someone could be infected with herpes and unknowingly transmit the STD to another person. Herpes may not always cause breakouts. Also, the disease can be transmitted even though the person does not have any symptoms of herpes.

Pennsylvania Law Regarding Transmission of Herpes

Unlike other states, Pennsylvania does not have a law that makes it illegal to have sex with someone when you know you have herpes or another sexually transmitted disease. However, the state could charge you with another crime if you know you have herpes and conceal that fact from a sexual partner.

Recklessly Endangering Another Person

You can be charged with reckless endangerment (18 Pa. Con. Stat. § 2705) if you recklessly engage in conduct that puts or could put another person in danger of serious bodily injury or death. Since there is no cure for herpes, a jury may consider transmitting herpes a serious bodily injury. 

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is another crime that could apply if you have sex with someone when you know you have a sexually transmitted disease. Intentionally exposing someone to herpes could be considered inflicting or attempting to inflict great bodily injury. 

Potential Punishments for Intentionally Transmitting Herpes in Pennsylvania

Convictions for reckless endangerment can result in a fine of up to $5,000 and up to two years in prison. Aggravated assault is punished by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000 as a first-degree felony. As a second-degree felony, aggravated assault carries a fine of up to $25,000 and five to ten years in prison. 

Being Accused of a Sex Crime in West Chester

Being accused of transmitting herpes or another STD is a serious offense. You could receive significant fines and spend years in prison if convicted. Likewise, you could suffer significant harm to your reputation and face other collateral consequences due to these charges.

It’s important to take your defense seriously. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you protect your rights and defend your freedom. Your lawyer can help you establish several defenses to the charges, including a lack of knowledge that you had a sexually transmitted disease. They can also work with prosecutors to negotiate a favorable plea deal or dismissal, depending on the facts.

Note:  DiCindio Law, LLC does not handle civil cases involving the transmission of an STD from one partner to another. This is for informational purposes only. 

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***This blog article is made available by the law firm publisher for educational purposes and to provide general information, not to provide specific legal advice. By reading, you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the publisher. The above-listed information does not include the entire criminal code, annotations, amendments, or any recent changes that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. Please contact DiCindio Law, LLC for a consultation and to discuss what law is relevant to your case.***