HIV-related discrimination is unique. Unlike other kinds of discrimination, it often reinforces other forms of prejudice, such as homophobia or racism. In addition, there are many other contributing factors, including lack of understanding of the disease and irresponsible media reporting.
HIV-related discrimination can affect people living with HIV, their partners and relatives, and those perceived to be HIV+ because of their sexual orientation or race. The stigmatisation of HIV often has a devastating effect on those living with the virus, especially in terms of social isolation and self-esteem.
Everyone can play a part in challenging HIV-related stigmatisation and discrimination.
The legal situation
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) aims to end the discrimination and prejudice many disabled people, and people living with long-term health conditions, face in their everyday lives. It covers employment, access to goods and services, housing, education, and transport.
The DDA has been amended to clarify the position of those living with HIV (and multiple sclerosis and cancer). The most significant change is that people living with HIV are protected from discrimination from the moment of diagnosis, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms of illness or not.
In the workplace, the DDA 2005 forbids employers from directly discriminating against people with HIV, from dismissing or harassing them because of their HIV status, and from failing to make reasonable adjustments that would allow an HIV+ person to carry out a job (such as allowing essential clinic visits). The protection from discrimination from the moment of diagnosis also extends to education, housing, and access to services.
Do I have to tell my employer I�m HIV+?
You�re not required to tell your employer about your HIV+ status unless it constitutes a health and safety risk. However, if your employer is unaware of the fact you�re living with HIV they�ll be unable to make any reasonable adjustments you may require.
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