Discrimination, Confidentiality and Disclosure


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In all states and territories discrimination on the basis of an individual's HIV status is aginst the law.

Discrimination is when someone is treated differently because of a particular characteristic that they may possess that others do not ie: being HIV positive. There are several different types of discrimination including direct and indirect discrimination.

Direct Discrimination

Direct discrimination means treating someone unfairly based on the fact they are HIV positive. An exampleof this might be when an employer refuses to hire someone because of their HIV positive status.

Indirect Discrimination

Indirect discrimination is described as equal treatment that produces an unlawful outcome. An example of this would be if an employer requiresall employees to donate blood. This would discriminate against someone with HIV as it is against the law for them to do so.

There are many laws, both Federal and State, which govern the circumstances in which discrimination is deemed unlawful. Contact the Equal Opportunistic Commission if you are concerned.


The professional codes of doctors and other health workers require them to keep the personal and medical information of patients and clients confidential. This is important in relation to HIV (and other blood borne viruses) primarily because of the stigma and discrimination faced by people who are known or believed to be HIV positive. Other people, such as employers and landlords, are not subject to professional codes like those applying to health care workers. However, even if there is no professional code that covers your particular area of concern, there could be privacy laws that protect your personal information. It is very important as an HIV positive person to be aware of both your rights and obligations.


Disclosure means whether or not you choose to let people know that you are HIV positive, who you tell, and what you say.

You are under no obligation to tell anyone that you are HIV positive unless:

  • You are filling in a form to donate blood
  • You are applying for Health Insurance or Life Insurance

By law you are required to advise your sexual partners if you are HIV positive and having unprotected sex. This law also applies to any sexually transmissible infections.

Take your time thinking about whether or not to disclose, and who to tell - these are important decisions and may have an impact on your relationship with your partner, family, friends and others. There are many agencies that can help you.

Our Mission

To minimise the impact and further transmission of HIV, other blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections. To reduce social, legal and policy barriers which prevent access to health information and effective support and prevention services.

WA AIDS Council would like to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians of this country throughout Australia, and their strength, resilience and connection to land and community. In particular, the WA AIDS Council would like to acknowledge the Wadjuk people of the Noongar Nation as the traditional custodians of the land in which our office is located.


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