Sexually Transmitted Diseases Law and Legal Definition

Sexually transmitted diseases or STDs are infections that can be transmitted from one person to another through any type of sexual contact. STDs are sometimes referred to as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or veneral diseases (VIs) because they involve the transfer of a disease causing organism from one person to another during sexual activity. The term sexual contact includes kissing, oral-genital contact, the use of sexual toys such as vibrators, and sexual intercourse. However, some STDs can be transmitted from one person to another even without sexual contact. Blood transfusions, organ transplantation, and breastfeeding are modes of non-sexual transfer. An unborn or a newborn child may become a victim of the disease if its mother is infected.

Examples of STDs are Chlamydia, AIDS, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. Many STDs are treatable. However, STDs such as HIV, HPV, and hepatitis B and C lack effective treatments.

The following is an example of a state statute (Texas) defining the term.

Pursuant to Tex. Health & Safety Code § 81.003(11), the term "sexually transmitted disease" means an infection, with or without symptoms or clinical manifestations, that may be transmitted from one person to another during, or as a result of, sexual relations between two persons and that may:

(A) produce a disease in, or otherwise impair the health of, either person; or

(B) cause an infection or disease in a fetus in utero or a newborn.