As singer Usher is learning the hard way, it is a crime to fail to let your sexual partner or partners know that you have an STD before engaging in sexual contact. Usher is now facing a lawsuit because of his neglect. It is unfortunate for him, but hopefully many others, probably who follow celebrity gossip, will learn the law before they accidentally break it themselves.
There are a number of California laws that involve transmitting or exposing STDs. Three in particular address people who have a sexually transmitted disease or HIV.
1. Willful Exposure – If a person who has any contagious disease and exposes themselves to another person, they are committing a crime. This is a misdemeanor offense where the person can face up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The individual may also get up to 5 years of probation.
2. Donating Tissue – It is a felony to donate tissue, blood, semen, breast milk, and other bodily products if you know you are HIV positive. These individuals face up to 8 years in prison and a fine greater than $1,000.
3. Sexual Intercourse – It is also a felony to intend to infect another person with your HIV strain by engaging in unprotected sex with them. People accused of this face up to 8 years in prison and a fine greater than $1,000.
If an infected person commits certain crimes, they face heightened penalties, worse than what they may have faced if they did not have an STD or HIV. For example, if a healthy individual is being accused of a sexual crime and faces 10 years in prison, an infected person would face 13 years in prison for the same crime. In regards to prostitution, an infected person would be served a consequence as if they were being convicted for a second time, not the first time.
It is more than just morally wrong not to disclose your health status to a sexual partner where they could also contract your disease, it is illegal. It is a very serious matter because STDs are life changing for the worse, and it is not something that can just go away. Due to its seriousness, the consequences are serious. Hope others can learn from Usher’s mistakes. The media attention is unfortunate for him, but perhaps it is fortunate for a portion of the general public who are in a similar situation themselves.