What Are Your Rights As A Person Living With Hiv
You are protected by the laws mentioned above. Your employer should only treat you differently when it comes to ensuring that reasonable adjustments are made, but not in a manner that is discriminatory or unfairly biased.
Confidentiality regarding sensitive personal information, such as health-related information, is protected under the Data Protection Act. Your employer is responsible for having procedures in place to keep this information confidential. Information about your HIV-status can only be shared with a third party if it is necessary to do so, with your prior written consent. This would usually be the Human Resources department or a direct manager responsible for making reasonable adjustments. If any colleagues need to be told about your status in order for reasonable adjustments to be made, you need to consent to this sensitive information being shared.
In situations where there is an occupational-health service or a company doctor, confidential information that is held by them should not normally be shared with an individuals line manager, even if the manager puts the occupational-health staff under pressure to do so.
In these situations, it may be helpful to first have an informal conversation with your employer outlining why you believe you have been treated unfairly and how the employer could change their behaviour or attitudes towards you.
National AIDS Trust
Hiv Disclosure In Nsw
HIV Australia | Vol. 14 No. 1 | March 2016
The Public Health Act is a key piece of NSW legislation which impacts the lived experience of people living with HIV.
For many years, Positive Life NSW has advocated for a number of key changes to the Act to reflect the current reality of HIV as a chronic manageable health condition, to better support efforts to end HIV transmission and to acknowledge prevention of HIV transmission is a shared responsibility regardless of sero-status.
With charges under the Crimes Act laid against a man relating to the alleged infection of another man in January, and, more recently, unrelated accusations against a sex worker extradited to Western Australia, Positive Life will again advocate for change to the Public Health Act as part of a required review of the legislation.
Despite an update in 2010, Positive Life argues some sections of the Public Health Act need change, and even removal from the Act to protect the interests of people living with HIV, reduce stigma and discrimination and enhance HIV prevention and testing in the broader community. A key example is the removal of Section 79, known as the disclosure provision.
Section 79 requires anyone who knows they have a sexually transmissible infection including HIV to inform a person before they have sex, and for that person to voluntarily accept the risk of acquiring that infection.
How Can I Help My Partner Understand More About Hiv
Your partner may be anxious about your health and it can be useful to have some leaflets to hand that you can show them to reassure them. You could download some from The Basics range published by NAM.
Another idea is to take your partner to one of your clinic appointments so that they can meet your doctor and ask questions.
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What Do I Need To Think About
If youve had unprotected sex recently, and have since been diagnosed with HIV, your partner may need to wait for a few weeks before testing to make sure the result is accurate.
If you decide to stop using condoms its a good idea to speak to your HIV doctor or nurse to make sure your viral load is undetectable. Remember that without condoms youre both still at risk of other sexually transmitted infection.
Where Do We Go From Here
In June 2019 the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights released a report which recommended that HIV non-disclosure should stop being charged under sexual assault law. They also suggested that the use of the criminal law in cases of HIV non-disclosure should be limited to cases of actual transmission. This is an important step forward, but the ultimate goal of anti-criminalization groups is that charges are limited to intentional transmission.
The Committee called for a prosecutorial directive that would apply across Canada. This would tell all prosecutors to stop criminalizing HIV non-disclosure, except when HIV is actually transmitted. It would also ensure that HIV non-disclosure is never prosecuted when the HIV-negative partner was on PrEP, condoms were used, the HIV-positive partner had a suppressed viral load, or the risk was negligible . They also recommended that a specific offence should be created to deal with non-disclosure of an infectious disease that is transmitted.
At the HIV Legal Network, we disagree with creating a new law that would criminalize other infectious diseases, but its clear that the Committees recommendations are a tremendous opportunity for change in Canada. We must keep up the pressure to ensure concrete actions follow.
The Criminalization of HIV Non-Disclosure in Canada: Current Status and the Need for Change
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Do Hiv+ People With Undetectable Viral Loads Need To Disclose Their Status
Since the mid-2000s, HIV research has focused on ways to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV as a form of treatment. In September 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adopted the widely accepted scientific position that an HIV-positive person with an undetectable viral load in their blood has a low risk of transmitting the virus through unprotected sex. Advancements in HIV treatment has dramatically improved the health, quality of life and life expectancy of people living with HIV. Additionally, these advancements have also transformed the HIV prevention landscape.
Scientists estimate that HIV spread from chimpanzees to humans in the early 1900s. Then, in 1968, the earliest suspected case of AIDS appeared in St. Louis, Missouri. By the 1980s, following the 1981 death of Gaetan Dugas, HIV/AIDS became an epidemic. In the early years, doctors were baffled about the virus that was making gay men in urban areas sick. From the governments slow and counterproductive response to Bayer being responsible for infecting millions of hemophiliacs with HIV, what unfolded throughout the 1980s laid the foundation for the preventative measures and medical advancements seen today.
Public Health Act Vs Queensland Criminal Code Prosecution
The Police and/or the Office of Public Prosecutions decide whether a person will be charged and subsequently prosecuted under the Public Health Act or the Criminal Code. Generally, a person will be charged under an act or section that appears to best fit the circumstances and evidence of the case.
If you have any questions about HIV disclosure and the law, or require further information, please call QPPs Advocacy Officer toll free from a land-line on 1800 636 241, use the contact form provided or call 3013 5555 .
DISCLAIMER: This guide is NOT intended as a substitute for legal advice. The information contained is for educational purposes only. Please note that each Australian State and Territory has different laws in regards to transmission. Refer to state based PLHIV organisations for further information.
For further reading, the Disclosing your HIV status guide, prepared by the HIV/AIDS Legal Centre in partnership with Queensland Positive People , contains the up-to-date and accurate information about relevant law around disclosure in Queensland.
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Get And Keep An Undetectable Viral Load
- If you take HIV medicine and get and keep an undetectable viral load, you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
- We dont know whether getting and keeping an undetectable viral load prevents HIV transmission through sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment . It very likely reduces the risk, but we dont know by how much.
- Getting and keep an undetectable viral load is the best thing you can do to stay healthy and protect others.
- Learn more about HIV treatment.
What if I cannot get an undetectable viral load?
Some people face challenges that make it hard to stick to a treatment plan. A few people cannot get an undetectable viral load even though they take HIV medicine as prescribed. If your viral load is not undetectableor does not stay undetectableyou can still protect your partners by using other prevention options.
What Does This All Mean
This is an exciting development, because directives to prosecutors can change how the law is enforced, even if they cant change the law itself. This can prevent unfair prosecutions against people living with HIV. Unfortunately, the federal directive only applies in the three territories , and provinces are lagging behind. Only Ontario, B.C., Alberta and Quebec have sent instructions to their prosecutors.
In Ontario, B.C., Alberta, and Quebec, you now shouldnt be prosecuted if you are on treatment and have maintained a suppressed viral load this applies whether or not you used a condom. In B.C., you shouldnt be prosecuted if you only had oral sex.
Only B.C. and Quebec offer some protection for people who used a condom but they are not completely protected. Unfortunately, this ignores the scientific evidence we have about condomstheyre a highly effective prevention strategy.
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Whom You May Want To Tell
Women often choose to disclose their status to close friends and family members whom they trust. For many, telling those closest to them provides them with both emotional and practical support.
Some people decide to become more public and use their stories to advocate for others with the government or in the media. Others may disclose for educational purposes to neighbors, community and religious groups, schools, other people living with HIV, or health care providers. Many women find a sense of purpose and increased self-esteem by telling their story.
– msplusamerica2011, from “Why Even Share?” on A Girl Like Me
You may want to consider how much of your story you are ready to tell. Many people will ask you how you acquired HIV. If you decide not to share that information, have a reply ready such as, “Does it really matter?” or simply state that you are not ready to talk about that.
How Have These Laws Affected Canadians Living With Hiv
At the time of writing, almost 200 people in Canada have been charged for not disclosing their HIV status to someone theyve had sex with. We have one of the highest numbers of reported cases in the world after Russia, Belarus, the United States and Ukraine. In Canada, someone can be charged even if they had no intent to harm their partner and the other person didnt get HIV. In some cases people have been charged and imprisoned because they didnt disclose before sex acts that posed negligible to no risk of transmission, such as sex with an undetectable viral load, oral sex or sex with a condom.
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Does The Law Say I Have To Tell My Partner About My Hiv Status
If youre having protected sex theres no law saying you must tell your partners that you have HIV. Its your choice whether you tell them or not.
However, in England and Wales theres a risk of being prosecuted for reckless transmission of HIV if:
- you had sex with someone who didnt know you had HIV
- you knew you had HIV at that time
- you understood how HIV is transmitted
- you had sex without a condom, and
- you transmitted HIV to that person.
The law in Scotland is largely the same, except that a case can also be brought if transmission hasnt taken place but someone has been put at risk of transmission without their consent or knowledge.
No Risk Of Hiv Transmission Really
So is it true that if a HIV positive partner is on treatment and has a UVL sustained , then there is no risk of HIV transmission?
In 2016, the PARTNER study from Europe found that the chance of HIV transmission where one partner had a UVL is negligible. In fact, there were zero partner-transmissions recorded in the study despite approximately 22,000 acts of condomless sex by gay couples. Additionally, PARTNER2 the extension study of PARTNER that aimed to gather data pertaining to mixed-HIV-status gay male couples found that after an additional 54,000 acts of condomless sex there were zero transmissions.
This is also supported by a large international study, led by the Kirby Institute here in Australia, the Opposites Attract study, which focused solely on gay and other men who have sex men from Australia, Brazil and Thailand, confirmed that HIV positive men who are on treatment and have an undetectable viral load do not transmit the virus to their partners.
So, between these two studies there has was a combined total of over 89,000 acts of condomless sex occurred between gay couples with zero transmissions!
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Hiv : Do I Need To Tell My Dentist Im Hiv
It’s hard to disclose, even to doctors.
There were some stigmatizing stories in the 1990s about people living with HIV being turned away by dentists, so the fear of disclosure with dentists is still enough to keep some poz folks from seeing one . Things have changed though.
All health care professionals use universal precautions to prevent the transmission of blood-borne diseases like HIV and Hep C to and from patients, according to the late Robert J. Frascino, MD, of the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation.
An expert for TheBody.com, Frascino told us before his passing that hed recommend disclosing your status to your dentist, so that he or she could be on the lookout for HIV-specific problems in the mouth.
Health care professionals, including dentists, are trained to look for certain conditions more closely if they know you have an underlying medical problem, be that diabetes, cancer, HIV, or whatever, he wrote.
Why would you not advise your dentist of your HIV status? If you feel that dentist would discriminate against you for being HIV positive, thats not the office you want to be treated in anyway, right? Being HIV-positive is not something to be ashamed of. Its a viral illness.
The same is true for other health care providers: You dont have to tell them, but its in your best interest and best health to do so.
About Undetectable And Hiv
Chances are youve probably heard of the term undetectable, undetectable viral load or UVL when chatting to friends or potential sexual partners, on apps or social media, or in blogs, magazines and medical journals.
But, what does it mean?
Having an undetectable viral load not only improves a HIV positive guys overall health, but it also means he wont transmit HIV to his partners. When a HIV positive guy is on treatment, within six months he can, in most cases, achieve an UVL.
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How Disclosure Affects You And Others
Disclosing your HIV status can be stressful. While you may receive love and support from some of the people you tell, others may not be as accepting. Try to find someone who can support you through this process. If you have not told any family members or close friends yet, turn to your health care provider, social worker, counselor, or AIDS service organization . To find the ASO closest to you in the US, click here. If you would like to connect with other women ) in The Well Project community, visit our page on Getting Connected.
Disclosing your HIV status will also have an effect on the people you tell. People will react differently to the news. Some may immediately embrace you and accept your diagnosis. Others may react negatively or need some time to process what you have told them. They may be scared for you or for themselves and may need some information in addition to time to adjust.
Some people, especially sexual partners who may be afraid they have acquired HIV, may react with anger. If you feel threatened or unsafe, it is important that you get safe and stay safe. Call the National Domestic Violence hotline in the US at 800-799-SAFE for support. You can also check our fact sheet about Violence Against Women and HIV.
Hiv Treatment As Prevention
With the CDCs 2017 declaration, the effectiveness of ART as a prevention tool is now undisputed. Around the globe, health agencies are adopting treatment and prevention to curb HIV infections. This is because studies, such as the 2016 Partner Study, show that HIV positive people on an effective ART with an undetectable viral load have negligible chances of transmitting HIV to others. The World Health Organization believes that test and treat strategiesadministering ART as soon as possible after diagnosiswill ultimately decrease the rate of new HIV infections.
After beginning ART, it takes about six months for an HIV positive person to reach undetectable levels. Also, with the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis , people at the highest risk for HIV can take daily medications to lower their chances of infection. With proper condom use, antiretroviral treatment and PrEP puts the chances of contracting HIV from a positive partner at nearly zero.
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How Do You Tell Your Employer That You Are Living With Hiv
You should be in control of the disclosure process. This means that you get to decide when, where, how and to whom you will disclose. You may choose to share information about your health shortly after receiving an offer of employment in order to ensure that reasonable adjustments can be made. Alternatively, you may choose to talk about it after being in a job for some time or if your circumstances change .
“Only your HR manager or direct manager needs to know.”
When telling your employer that you are HIV-positive, sharing information about HIV treatment, transmission and what being undetectable means may be helpful. You could give them this factsheet and other pages from this website.
If you are disclosing in order for reasonable adjustments to be made, only your HR manager or direct manager responsible for authorising the adjustments need know about your diagnosis.
It may also be possible to explain that there is an underlying medical condition which is covered by the protection of the Equality Act and which may require reasonable adjustments, without specifying HIV. Doctors sometimes call this giving the prognosis not the diagnosis a GP or occupational-heath doctor may be able to provide supporting evidence without revealing that you are HIV-positive.
If your employer discloses your HIV status to other people without your permission, they are breaching your confidentiality rights outlined in the Data Protection Act.