Rights are basic things that everyone is entitled to, in order to live well. Laws are created to protect people’s rights. In the UK, the Equality Act is a law that protects people from being treated badly. It gives you the right to be treated fairly and respectfully, no matter who you are.

There are many different identities that are protected under this law. These identities are called ‘protected characteristics’, which include age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion/belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity. People living with HIV are specifically protected under the disability characteristic. Many people living with HIV may not feel disabled; there are many health conditions that are protected under this characteristic. The important thing is that this law exists to protect people with HIV in different spaces, including school (and any other education), work, in relationships and when accessing health care.

Another right, is your right to confidentiality. Confidentiality means that information about your health cannot be shared with anybody else unless you have given your permission for this to happen. Sometimes your parents or carers have to agree on your behalf, if you are under 16 years old. There are rules that mean if someone in a professional role breaks your confidentiality, they can be prosecuted.

For further information visit NAT.