Sex by a person with an STD can be a Crime

Having unprotected sex with someone when you know you have a sexually transmitted disease can result in criminal charges under Georgia law.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) continue to be a serious public health risk. Not disclosing the fact that you are infected allows STDs to spread more easily and could actually result in criminal charges. Preventing the spread of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is of particular concern to lawmakers, as it carries the risk of developing full blown AIDS, which is often a death sentence. To protect the public, prosecutors in Georgia, and across the country, are aggressive in pursuing criminal charges against those who fail to disclose their medical condition to their sexual partners.

Criminal Charges Pertaining to STDs

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is located here in Atlanta, seven states have specific laws pertaining to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. These may include conditions such as herpes, chlamydia, genital warts, and gonorrhea. 26 states currently have laws on the books pertaining to the spread of HIV specifically. These laws vary in how they classify not disclosing HIV or other STDs to a sexual partner. Depending on the state, you could face criminal charges for reckless behavior, criminal assault, or in cases where the person eventually develops AIDS, murder.

In order to be charged with a crime, the prosecution would generally have to prove that you knew you had a specific STD, received a diagnosis from a knowledgeable medical provider, and failed to inform others of your status, putting them at risk. STD and HIV laws typically center around the failure to disclose and can apply in any of the following types of cases:

Criminal Charges for Spreading STDs in Georgia

Under the Georgia Code, section 16-5-60 addresses failure to disclose STDs to a sex partner. Classified as a type of reckless behavior, the law deals specifically in cases involving HIV or hepatitis, which is an inflammatory condition that can result in severe liver damage. If you have either virus, and knowingly engage in sex with someone without informing them of it, you could face felony criminal charges, resulting in heavy fines and a potential jail sentence of up to 10 years.

The main goal of these laws is to protect people from being put at risk and to prevent reckless conduct, which allows STDs to spread. Critics claim that these laws further marginalize people living with HIV and draws attention away from the fact that modern medicine now inhibits the transmission of the virus even in those affected. 

Contact Our Gwinnett County Criminal Defense Attorneys

Being charged with any type of sex-related crime is a serious matter and can have lasting ramifications in every area of your life. The criminal defense attorneys of Zimmerman & Associates provide the strong legal defense you need in these situations. Contact our Gwinnett County criminal defense attorneys to schedule a free consultation today.