Confidentiality and HIV

It is important to remember that you have a right to confidentiality over your own and your child’s medical information. If you are living with HIV, you do not have to tell the foster carer who is going to be looking after your child, and the social worker should not tell the foster carer without your permission.

Similarly, you should not be forced to tell a foster carer who is looking after your child about their HIV status. For example, if it is a temporary stay and the child is older and can manage their medication, there may be no reason for the foster carer to be told that they are living with HIV.

It might be helpful to talk to the social worker when you first meet them to make sure there is a clear understanding that it is you who decides who is told, and that a confidentiality agreement is made between you. If they question this, you can tell them to get information from professional organisations such as Chiva or the National AIDS Trust.

Younger children

A younger child needs more care and support with medication, and if they are staying in foster care, it may be necessary for a foster carer to be told about the child’s HIV status.

Again, it is important that a confidentiality agreement is made between you and the foster carer at the beginning so the foster carer is made aware they cannot tell other people this information (which includes their family members).

It will also be very important that the foster carer receives training and has access to information and support about how to look after a child living with HIV. The social worker should make sure this happens. Chiva has information for foster carers about looking after a child living with HIV.