Interesting case. Based on the news report, I find it surprising that a judge and/or jury went along with an award. In my experience, the legal perspective on cases of STD transmission usually has been that the newly infected partner had as much responsibility for self-protection as did the originally infected partner for transmitting the infection. If the news report is accurate in its implication that the male in the case had no reason to know he had HPV, I find the outcome even more surprising. It might be different if the male had in fact been diagnosed with genital warts recently and overtly lied about it.
My guess is that there is more to the case than meets the eye. In my experience in consulting on cases of accused STD transmission (usually related to herpes), most of them had a context of other bad things in the relationship -- i.e., part of the story often was a financial issue, a divorce, sexual assault, etc, which may not come out in the media. While in theory such things shouldn't influence a legal decision, in practical terms they can have a tremendous influence on a judge and/or jury. Sometimes the situation might be analagous to giving Al Capone 30 years for tax evasion when they couldn't make murder and racketeering stick.
My advice on HPV transmission and informing partners definitely will not change on account of this story. But it's an interesting situation. Thanks for posting it.
Regards--- HHH, MD
Just to be clear, your use of the word "recently" refers to approximately 3-6 months after no signs of warts were present, as stated in other posts?
In the context of my reply above, I meant "recently" to mean if he still had visible warts that had not been treated, or that had not yet gone away on treatment. My "other posts" talked about my general advice to patients, but certainly that doesn't create any sort of legal standard nor should anybody interpret my comments that way.
I agree with Dr. Handsfield, interesting case indeed. However, if you investigate a little further you will find:
Rossiter said Evans later admitted he had:
Sex in the six months prior to their encounter (which he initially denied).
Had a relationship with another woman after he and Rossiter had become involved. Evans told her the woman had symptoms like hers, Rossiter said.
For what it's worth, he was also accused of infecting her with BV.
Even with that information, I still find it hard to assign sole responsibility to him. And it is a real stretch to assign liability to transmission of BV, which has not been scientifically demonstrated to be sexually transmitted from men to women. Finally, if every sexually active person can be held legally liable for lying about other partnerships, a whole lot of the world will be in a position of suing a whole lot of the rest of the world. Still, this supports my initial suspicion that there likely was more to the case than has come to light publicly. There may be more still that hasn't come out.