If a person experiences health issues after having sexual contact with another, it is crucial to undergo screening for a sexually transmitted disease for medical and legal reasons, Michigan personal injury attorney Thomas L. Stroble said this week.
Screening can not only detect the STD early on and prevent serious health complications, but it may also help to hold the person who transmitted the disease responsible for medical costs, pain and suffering and possibly punitive damages, Stroble said.
“As our society takes an increasingly serious stance towards stopping the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, lawsuits involving STDs are becoming more common,” said Stroble, whose Bloomfield Hills personal injury law firm, The Stroble Law Firm, P.C., represents STD victims in civil actions throughout Oakland County and the surrounding area.
“A lawsuit can not only compensate a person who has suffered tremendous trauma from being infected with a STD, but it can also act as a deterrent to risky, reckless and costly behavior,” he said.
Stroble pointed that, according to a Centers for Disease Prevention and Control report issued last month, about 19 million Americans are infected with a sexually transmitted disease each year at a combined estimated cost of $16.4 billion.
The CDC report noted an increase in the transmission of Chlamydia and syphilis in recent years. Although the CDC does not compile statistics regarding genital herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV) infections, they are widely believed to be the most commonly transmitted STDs.
“Herpes, in particular, is a very serious, lifelong disease, which can lead to serious complications if not detected and treated at a very early stage,” Stroble said. “It not only harms the victim, but it could also impact the victim\’s unborn children.”
According to Stroble, screening for STDs may help to determine the person who transmitted the disease. That person could be held liable in a civil lawsuit, he said, if it can be shown that the person knew of the condition, failed to disclose it before engaging in sexual contact and transmitted the disease to a partner.
“If the person knew they had herpes, for instance, and failed to tell their partner about the disease or to take proper precautionary steps, such as wearing a condom, that could serve as grounds for liability,” Stroble said.
Stroble suggested contacting a family physician or a local county health division for more information about STDs, walk-in clinics, screening, testing, diagnosis, treatment and counseling options.