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HIV and the Law

There are several things to think about, some of which might be important to your circumstances.

Prosecution for passing on HIV

There have been several cases in both Scotland and England where people have been successfully prosecuted for passing HIV on to a sexual partner. This has most commonly happened when the HIV positive person has misled a sexual partner about their HIV status, and the virus has been passed on.

In Scotland, there has been a conviction based on reckless and culpable conduct whereby a person with HIV had unprotected sex with partners without protection and without telling them of his status, but the partners were not actually infected with HIV as a result of this. He was convicted for putting his partners at risk even though HIV was not passed on. It is important to remember that a person with HIV is not obligated to tell sexual partners of his or her status; he or she is responsible for taking reasonable precautions to prevent HIV being passed on.  If a person with HIV uses a condom and that condom fails, resulting in infection to a partner, the person with HIV could not be charged.

Telling partners can be difficult but there are professionals like the Sandyford Sexual Health Advisers, who can provide support and guidance around this. Using condoms with partners is recommended, even those that are also HIV positive, as it will help protect against other STIs.

Insurance and mortgages

Having HIV does not mean you will be unable to get life insurance or a mortgage. There are companies who will offer financial products like mortgages or life insurance to HIV positive people, but as with all chronic illnesses, there might be less choice and it can be more expensive. Having an HIV test itself if the result is negative does not have to be disclosed - all insurance companies across the UK have agreed to ignore this, so you can test as often as you wish without this affecting any insurance application.

Immigration and asylum 

Having HIV will not affect your immigration status or asylum claim. You will not be refused asylum because you are HIV positive but having HIV does not guarantee refugee status or your right to remain either. In some cases, if you have HIV and are seeking asylum your solicitor might seek a specialist medical report about your health, as they would if you had any other chronic health condition.

Protecting you from discrimination 

There are laws to protect HIV positive people from discrimination.