Disclosure of your HIV-positive status can cause anxiety. Although you may feel pressured, it is good to know the facts before jumping in and disclosing in situations were it is unnecessary.
Medical/dental: There is no legal requirement that you disclose your HIV status before undergoing any type of medical examination or treatment, including dentistry. However, it may be wise to disclose since HIV medications may interact with other medications; or the progression or treatment of other conditions may be affected by HIV infection. Under such circumstances, failure to disclose may lead to serious consequences for your health. Your treatment for other conditions may have to be modified to allow for the effects of HIV infection and HIV medications, and your doctor or dentist can only do this if they are fully informed. Discuss with your regular HIV specialist whether disclosure to another practitioner is medically necessary.
View the WA Guide to Disclosing your HIV Status by clicking on the image below.
Family/friends/ex-partners/others: Depending on the circumstances (i.e. what precisely was said, and the manner in which the disclosures were made), you may be able to apply for an apprehended violence order to restrain the person from continuing to harass you. If the person came to know of your HIV status as the result of an intimate relationship there is also a small possibility that you may be able to sue for a breach of confidence. Finally, if the person’s comments are defamatory, then you may also be able to sue under defamation law.
Unfortunately, both defamation and breach of confidence actions are costly and carry a significant risk for applicants because if you lose you will end up liable for the other person’s legal costs. These actions are also only worthwhile where the other party has considerable assets, as the principal remedy is economic damages.
Contact the WA AIDS Council for initial discussion if someone is telling people that you are HIV positive without your consent. Remember, also, that if someone such as your employer or landlord starts treating you differently because they have found out about your HIV status, then this may be unlawful discrimination and you may be able to do something about this.
HIV Disclosure & Local Legislation: You are subject to the local laws of the country that you are visiting, therefore it’s important to have some knowledge of local legislation with regards to HIV disclosure when travelling. It is illegal for HIV-positive individuals to have sex without documenting disclosure in some jurisdictions and some PLHIV have been prosecuted without onward transmission occurring.
More Information - HIV, the Law & Disclosure
Gay Men & HIV Disclosure (AFAO resource, all Australian States, 2016) https://www.afao.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/4595/674_afao_factsheet_HIV_disclosure_2016_3.pdf
Strategies for Proof of HIV Disclosure (US resource, Sero Project) http://seroproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/sero_brochure_colorprint-1-1.pdf
General Disclosure Information http://www.thewellproject.org/hiv-information/disclosure-and-hiv
Information on Disclosure in the U.S.A https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/just-diagnosed-with-hiv-aids/talking-about-your-status/do-you-have-to-tell/
A Snapshot of HIV Criminalisation in the U.S.A (Center for HIV, Law & Policy, 2016) http://hivlawandpolicy.org/resources/when-sex-crime-and-spit-dangerous-weapon-snapshot-hiv-criminalization-united-states-center
General Disclosure Information (Terry Higgins Trust, UK) http://www.tht.org.uk/myhiv/Telling-people/Who-to-tell
HIV Disclosure & The Law (CATIE, Canada, 2013) http://www.catie.ca/en/practical-guides/hiv-disclosure
HIV Disclosure to Partners (Canadian resource, 2012) http://www.aidslaw.ca/site/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Legal-Network-HIV-disclosure-to-sex-partners.pdf