People with HIV and who disclose their HIV status are protected under the Equality Act 2010.
Many people living with HIV are concerned about HIV and employment and any issues that may raise. For the vast majority of jobs, there is no requirement that means you must tell your employer about your HIV diagnosis. If you are worried about your confidentiality being breached, or being treated differently, then you may want to consider this carefully, but employers do have a responsibility to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ (for example, time off for clinic appointments) under the law. People with HIV and who disclose their HIV status are protected under the Equality Act 2010.
Protection under the Equality Act is from the point of diagnosis, and not from the day that you tell your employer. Employers cannot ask questions about your health until an offer of employment has been made. Once this happens, then the employer can ask questions, but this should not be used to treat you unfairly. It is very important to answer a health questionnaire honestly because if your employer finds out about something at a later date it could be seen as a breach of trust and this could have implications for your employment. The Data Protection Act 1998 states that records of your HIV status must be kept confidential.
WORKING WITHIN HEALTHCARE
There has also been a change in the law where people who work in medicine and perform ‘exposure-prone procedures’ such as dentistry, surgery, midwifery etc. can now undertake these jobs. It is necessary that these professionals are on treatments, have a viral load of fewer than 200 copies per millilitre of blood, have three-monthly viral load tests and be registered with the UKAP Occupational Health Monitoring Register.
You can discuss concerns, issues and difficult experiences of disclosure, unfair treatment or other discrimination within the workplace in detail with a George House Trust adviser. Telephone or book an appointment securely online.