For migration, visa, court or other legal issues, you should seek advice from qualified, professional services. Please refer to the following services (both free and fee-paying) for information and consultation:
- Legal Service Commission of South Australia
- Australian Migration Options Pty Ltd
- Gay and Lesbian Immigration Taskforce South Australia (GLITFSA)
- Women’s Legal Service (SA) Inc.
- Westside Lawyers
- Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service
There are State and Federal laws that exist to protect people from discrimination relating to their HIV status:
- The Federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992 applies to discrimination on the basis of a range of illnesses and disabilities, including HIV, making it unlawful for someone to discriminate in employment, education and access to premises, provision of goods, services and facilities, accommodation, disposal of land, activities of clubs, sport and administration of Commonwealth laws and programs.
- South Australian people living with HIV are also covered by the South Australian Equal Opportunity Act 1984 which outlaws discrimination based on a wide range of characteristics, including disability under which HIV sits, and relates to discrimination in employment, partnerships, clubs and associations, qualifying bodies, education, provision of goods and services, accommodation, sale of land, advertising (including employment agencies), conferral of qualifications and superannuation.
- Finally, the South Australian Public Health Act 2011 (Section 99) outlines strict privacy and confidentiality provisions that relate to sharing information about a client’s HIV status.
Disclosure and the Public Health Act
There are no specific laws in South Australia that require people living with HIV to disclose their HIV status to their sexual partners. However, the South Australian Public Health Act 2011 requires people with any communicable diseases, including HIV, to take “reasonable steps or precautions” to avoid placing others at risk of contracting the virus.
The Act also states that people without a communicable disease have a responsibility to act in a manner that will not place themselves at risk of contracting a communicable disease, including HIV. This means that everyone has an equal responsibility to prevent the transmission of HIV.
Disclosure in general:
You can decide whom to tell about your HIV status and what to tell them. Your choice may range from telling no one at all to telling many people, for example through public speaking and peer support.
Potential benefits of disclosing:
- You don’t have to spend as much energy keeping a secret.
- You could feel less alone and discover friends that are in similar situations.
- You can become a peer supporter, helping and getting help from others.
- You can contribute to eliminating stigma associated with HIV.
- You can be supported to develop leadership skills and be an activist.
Potential drawbacks of disclosing:
- Other people may gossip and say unpleasant things about you or about your family members.
- You may worry more about your family and what others may think of them.
- You and/or your family may experience discrimination.
No matter what choice you make, remember that you are not alone.