Recently a client of the e-Harmony dating website contracted genital herpes, a lifelong virus that includes episodic breakouts and means that for the duration of your life, you have the potential to be infectious and can pass the virus onto other people through sexual activity. This woman took legal action against the man who gave the virus to her since it had caused her harm both physically and emotionally.
Over the last couple of years there have been a number of law suits relating to the spread of herpes with intent. Many of these cases report that the person being prosecuted did not know they were infectious, as was the case with the e-Harmony client who passed the infection to his unsuspecting date.
With 1 in 6 people in the US reported to have herpes and with condoms offering only some protection against this particular sexually transmitted infection (STI), it can be difficult to avoid carriers if you have multiple sexual partners. It is believed that around 10% of the UK population has the virus. The most you can hope for is that a partner will tell you about their sexual history, however embarrassing it might be for them but many of those infected do not know that they remain infections even when they are not displaying obvious symptoms. Some think that when they have had an outbreak and have treated it that the virus is gone for good.
Herpes will never go away and it is easily contracted. Looking at the climbing STI rates all over the world, it is believable to think that some individuals who pass it on are not aware that they are doing so and have not been malicious in their intent but rather ignorant about the virus they carry. Questioning a partner about their sexual history is vital before making the decision to engage in sexual activity – although we understand that this can be awkward and can ruin the moment.
Education is a huge factor and once again it seems the public is largely ignorant as far as herpes is concerned. In the end the e-Harmony client won damages and the jury stated that the woman taking action was 25% negligent versus the man’s 75% negligence. There must be thousands who have contracted herpes in this way and not many of them involve court cases.