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Your Rights

Remember, you do not have to disclose your HIV status to your: 

  • Friends
  • Employer
  • Work colleagues
  • Doctor, dentist or other health care professionals

Although you are not legally obligated to disclose to health care professionals, it may be wise to tell any doctor treating you - particularly over the long term or for serious conditions - that you have HIV. This will allow your doctor to make the best decisions about your health. It is also a good idea to tell your dentist, since HIV can affect your gums. If you do tell a doctor, dentist or any other health care provider, they cannot refuse to treat you or manage your care; this would be discrimination and against the law. 

There are some unique circumstances in which the law may require disclosure. The Department of Immigration requires anyone applying for permanent residency in Australia to be tested for HIV and, when applying for superannuation or life insurance, you will probably need to answer questions about your HIV status. 

If you are refused any service or believe you have been treated unfairly because you are known or presumed to be HIV positive, this may be a case of discrimination. It is against the law to discriminate against people because of their HIV status. You can not be refused a job, housing, medical services or dental services just because you are living with HIV. If you would like more information about how to deal with HIV-related discrimination, there are number of services which can assist. Contact Positive Women Victoria for more information.