Woman Wins $900,000 in Herpes Lawsuit

A 49-year-old woman in Oregon has been awarded $900,000 for the pain and suffering caused by an internet date who gave her genital herpes, or HSV-2. She alleges that after four dates, she slept with a 69-year-old retired dentist she met on eHarmony, insisting on the use of a condom – and that not only did he remove the condom during sex, but he didn’t inform her that he had herpes until afterward.

The plaintiff broke off the relationship, but within 11 days experienced a herpes outbreak. After repeated, painful outbreaks, she spiraled into a depression. Anti-viral medications to control the disease caused large patches of her hair to fall out and she gained 30 lbs after taking antidepressants.

The dentist, for his part, took the stand to explain that he was unaware he could be contagious when he wasn’t having an active outbreak. He also testified that he told her about his herpes because he liked her and wanted to continue seeing her, and felt he should let her know there would be times when they couldn’t safely have sex. Not content to allow his client to appear misinformed and apologetic, the dentist’s lawyer argued she could have contracted the disease from anyone and slammed her for not noticing her partner had removed the condom, calling her negligent. (I have a feeling the lawyer’s attitude may have had something to do with the size of the settlement.)

There are those who argue that this verdict sets a dangerous precedent – herpes blood testing is generally excluded from STD panels unless a patient is showing active symptoms of the disease, so many people can spread herpes without even knowing that they have it, even if they are routinely tested for STDs. People who have an asymptomatic herpes infection can be just as infectious as those who experience outbreaks. Condoms don’t adequately protect from HSV transmission, because any skin-to-skin contact can spread the virus. (Condoms are still effective in preventing most other STDs, however.)

While it seems fair to punish someone intentionally transmitting an STD, things become murkier when you look at the statistics for HSV infection. Most people don’t realize that their doctors won’t test them for herpes unless they specifically request the blood test. Should people who unintentionally spread herpes also be held legally liable by their former partners?

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Photo credit: walknboston via Flickr

95 comments

John R.
John R.10 days ago

I read another article at http://www.topherpesdatingsites.com. A woman sued her former partner for giving her HPV that led to genital warts and cervical dysplasia, a precancerous condition. She won and was awarded $1.5 million. And that’s just peanuts compared to the supposed $52 million settlement a woman received after she claimed that her former partner, the boss of the real-life “Wolf of Wall Street,” gave her chlamydia that made her infertile.

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Perty Kate
Perty Kate3 years ago

Getting diagnosed with Herpes can be the worst moment of your life. However, in order to safely and confidently date with genital herpes you should definitely know a few things. DateHSV.com can help you deal with and overcome any issue which genital herpes might create in your dating life. So take a deep breath. And realize taking little steps every day will help you recover and heal from this experience.And I promise, you will find happiness again.

Dresia Vaughn
Dresia Vaughn4 years ago

Ok, let me say this, there are consequences when we go against the laws of the Bible. I may hit a nerve here but this is true. Look at what happened to this woman and many others who have it worst, HIV and some I know that have died from this. Bottom line; stay away (if you can from such acts) do so. If a person really has respect for you, he/she would wait, learn of you, do things together, get to know you well and if possible, and you want to be together, marry then. This dating is a high risk game. Protect yourselves and stay out of the Doctor’s office. I’m going to say this, and it’s only fair, I use to engage also in sexual immorality and the Bastard past something on to me knowing he caught it from someone else but was trying to make me think he caught it from me and to go and have myself checked out. Well, I knew I was itching horribly but thought it was the new soap I was using. After two weeks of no sex with him, and after his medication cleared his ass up, I got his ass back something terrible and THIS TIME, revenge was mine and his ass went flying back to the Doctor for a surgical procedure. I was not to be f*cked with back then. I didn’t play that cheating shit because I was a mean revengeful bitch back in the day. Now, I’m a changed woman and am very lucky, it wasn’t worst because it could have been aids.

Evelyn M.
Evelyn M.4 years ago

Sorry she got this incurable disease but it is not life-threatening and can be managed with medication. The award is obscene.

Deborah F.
Deborah F.4 years ago

I don't believe that he didn't know he was contagious. Obviously, the jury didn't either.

Carina K.
Carina K.4 years ago

Last sentence in the article:

"Should people who unintentionally spread herpes also be held legally liable by their former partners?"
(NB: the word "UNINTENTIONALLY" is present)

Question in the poll:

"Should people be able to sue the person who gave them an STD?"
(NB: the word "UNINTENTIONALLY" is NOT present)

Me:

*facepalm*

Nicole X.
Nicole X.4 years ago

if you meeet the same issue, ask the std legal lawyer at stdromance

Nicole X.
Nicole X.4 years ago

Herpes is a very common infection. So we are not alone if you have herpes too, Start dating again at STDromance. Up to 8 out of 10 American adults have oral herpes. And about 1 out of 4 American adults have genital herpes. Millions of people do not know they have herpes because they never had, or noticed, the herpes symptoms.

Christine Stewart

For a dentist, a medical professional, to claim he didn't know he could be contagious - he SHOULD have to pay that money for being so stupid.