There have been a number of lawsuits over the years concerning the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) during relatively casual sex in relatively casual relationships. The New York Post published a story about a forty-seven-year old attorney who filed suit against his wife of twenty-two years, charging that her straying had left him with Herpes Simplex virus 2, an STD that caused him to experience “pain, suffering, emotional, mental, psychological and physical injuries and the loss of enjoyment of life.”
I guess he figured that if he had it, and had sex with her, that she’d contract it and then he’d blame it on her during their estrangement so that he could leverage his position with respect to collecting back monies he’d have to give her in a divorce. I guess that’s it…because she filed papers last month with the results of her blood test which was negative for HSV-2, commonly known as genital herpes, with which the lawyer husband says he’s infected.
Nonetheless, the question still remains: who is responsible for the transmission of an STD in a casual or dating relationship? Is it the full responsibility of the infected individual to reveal in advance of any sexual activity that they have the communicable disease? Or, is it the responsibility of each and every individual to not rely on the kindness of strangers?
I believe that anyone who knowingly transmits an STD should be prosecuted criminally and sued civilly. The severity of the consequences should match the seriousness of the STD. Some of the STDs are curable with medication; others are simply controlled with medication; some may lead to a higher incidence of cancer; and some are a virtual death sentence.
Considering these factors, people who don’t ask – much less are foolish enough to believe it when they’re told, “No, I don’t have anything,” – who don’t take precautions such as condoms (which aren’t foolproof), who have multiple sexual partners, and who don’t value the monogamous commitment of marriage after both people have complete physicals and blood tests to ensure a “clean slate,” have to take some responsibility onto themselves for their foolishness.
It’s like this: when you let your dog loose off the leash and it runs into the streets to be run over by a speeding car…the car actually killed the dog; but you put the dog in the place where it could happen. That is shared liability and shared moral obligation.
DO ask, and DO tell; and be truthful.