HIV and your rights

As someone living with HIV, you might be faced with a lot of situations where knowing your rights can be helpful. 

Did you know?

The medical information regarding your sexual health, including your HIV records, is recorded using a computer system called NaSH.

This information is kept separate from your other medical information and can only be accessed by staff working at specialist sexual health and HIV services in Scotland.

The staff at sexual health clinics who have access to your records have a legal duty to keep this information confidential. No other NHS staff, either in the hospital, community or GP practices, can see your NaSH record.

Click here to read more about the NaSH system and how it works. 

Right to care and treatment

Regardless of your circumstances, you have a basic human right to get fair, safe and effective healthcare and social care services.

This includes things like:

  • free HIV treatment, regardless of your immigration status,
  • being treated with dignity and respect by healthcare staff at all times,
  • your personal information should be kept confidential,
  • being involved in medical decisions,
  • being provided with sufficient information to make such decisions.



In the UK, people living with HIV are protected under the Equality Act (2010). The law protects you from discrimination or unfair treatment by employers, healthcare staff and other public organisations.

This also includes harassment related to your HIV status, such as verbal abuse, online bullying, and receiving unwanted phone calls.



The confidentiality of your HIV status is protected by the UK law. This means that your employer, healthcare staff and other public services are not allowed to share your HIV status or other medical information without your consent. If they do, you can take legal action to hold them accountable.

Although, medical information can sometimes be shared across healthcare services, for example when you are referred to a different hospital, to ensure the quality of care.


Your rights at work

You are not legally required to tell your employer that you have HIV. If you choose to tell your employer, they are required to make reasonable adjustments to help you do your job.

Such adjustments include things like:

  • Taking time off for clinic appointments or counselling,
  • Changes in the number of hours you work,
  • Flexible working hours, for example changes in starting and finish times.



If you’re not working, or you are working but you’re on a low income, you may be able to claim certain benefits. These include Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)Personal Independence Payment (PIP).


Looking for support?

If you are living with HIV and need support understanding a new diagnosis, treatment or navigating life with HIV, we are here to help. Get in touch with us by filling out our contact form.

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