Who do I have to tell?
The only people you need to tell are:
- People you are going to have sex with. This is required by the NSW Public Health Act 2010. (However there is now an amendment which states that if charges are brought, it is a defence if the person with HIV used reasonable precautions to prevent transmission of HIV. Condoms are likely to be considered ‘reasonable precautions’. See the link below for more information)
- Your employer, only if you are in the Australian Defence Force or in some health professions
- A life insurance provider that has asked if you have HIV
There are some circumstances where you might need or want to tell people who are assisting you with travel, migration, welfare, employment or healthcare, or simply for support. However this is your choice. The HIV Legal Centre (HALC) has a comprehensive guide to disclosure, discrimination and the law.
Is my information private?
If you have disclosed your HIV status to a health worker, your employer, the police or a welfare service, then they must not tell anyone. Health workers should seek your consent before discussing your health with anyone. There are some exceptions that exist to allow health providers to disclose information about your health to other health providers when it directly relates to your care, or (in very rare situations) disclosure is required to protect others from acquiring HIV.
If you feel your privacy has been breached, contact the organisation where it happened. You can also contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner or the Health Care Complaints Commission if you feel your complaint has not been addressed.
If you disclose your HIV status to someone in your personal life (such as a family member or a friend) there are no laws that protect your information. If you are thinking about telling someone, see our guide on telling others about your HIV status for things to consider and some tips you might want to use.
Stigma and discrimination
It is unlawful in NSW for anyone to treat you badly or unfairly because you have HIV.
You can make a complaint to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission or NSW Anti-Discrimination Board.
You can also contact the HIV Legal Centre (HALC) to get advice about complaints related to discrimination.