RELATIONSHIPS AND SEX
In the UK, you do not have to tell anyone you are dating/having sex with about your HIV status. You have a right to your privacy and to share your HIV status with another person when you want to. However, if you know about your HIV status, do not take steps to stop it being passed on, and do pass it onto a sexual partner this could potentially result in legal action being taken against you.
It is very rare that people have been prosecuted for ‘reckless’ transmission of HIV to another person but it is important to understand the law in this area to protect yourself and others.
Here are the different ways you can look after yourself and others during sex:
U=U Having an undetectable viral load means you cannot pass on HIV during sex. This is when having sex with or without a condom. There is a Can’t pass it on campaign from THT which was created to make sure that this information is widely known about.
Using condoms: using condoms properly prevents HIV being passed on (98% of the time). Condoms also protect against other STIs and they prevent pregnancy, so even people who have an undetectable viral load should consider using them.
It is important to keep in mind that these are the laws across the UK. Different countries have different laws. Elsewhere in the world, depending on the country, you may have to tell someone about your status, even when there is no risk of passing on HIV.
Not passing on the virus and someone accepting your HIV status is just one thing to think about when you’re in a relationship or thinking about getting into one. Whether you have an undetectable or detectable viral load, everyone deserves to have a respectful and caring relationship.
NAT produced an article on recorded HIV criminalisation cases around the world that you can read here.
The HIV Justice Network collates information around HIV criminalisation in global laws, cases in the media and organisations working in this area.