Enhancing the health and social wellbeing of children and young people living with HIV

Your Rights

Local education authorities must find a free school place for every child who is of compulsory school age, so you have a right to have your child in education. The Equality Act 2010 explicitly offers people living with HIV in England, Scotland and Wales protection from discrimination from the point where they are diagnosed HIV positive.

This means it is illegal to discriminate against people living with HIV and covers how you are treated in the workplace, in school and when accessing services from other places such as social services.

If the school were to treat you or your child less favourably than any other parents and children in the school – after they know you are living with HIV - they would be breaking the law. If this happened, you could seek advice from a lawyer and the school could be taken to court and charged with discrimination under this act. For example, if you wrote on a school application form that your child was HIV positive and you were not provided with a school place in your area, there would be a strong case to charge the local authority with discrimination.

Head teachers and staff in school have a legal duty to treat all medical information confidentially.

The Data protection act 1998 states that consent has to be given for confidential information to be shared. This means that you should be asked to give consent when a professional/teacher/social worker wants to share your or your child’s HIV status with someone else. The exception to this is when someone is at risk of harm, but simply being HIV positive is not putting anyone else at risk of harm.

You should be aware that all schools will follow universal health precautions. These are rules which stop people coming into contact with body fluids like blood, and protect people from lots of different diseases and infections. These rules are the same for everybody and mean that everybody is protected. For example, wearing protective gloves to deal with someone who is bleeding. This is why an HIV positive child in a school poses no risk to others.