Why HIV Privacy Laws Matter

Find Your State

Know the laws in your state that protect LGBT people and people living with HIV.

More than two decades have elapsed since the first HIV cases were identified in the United States, but the unfortunate reality is that there is still stigma associated with HIV. Too often, disclosure that a person has HIV wreaks havoc on that person’s life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caution health care workers to avoid revealing a patient’s positive HIV test results even to the patient’s family and friends without the patient’s consent because “of the risk of stigma and discrimination.” The stigma often associated with HIV-positive status harms both the individual and the public health. Stigma has been linked to failure to get tested for HIV, delays in seeking medical care by those who have HIV, poor access to medical care, nonadherence to antiretroviral treatment, and faster disease progression. Keeping HIV records confidential therefore remains as important as ever.

September 16, 2010