Telling Others

Am I legally required to share my HIV status with others?

There are laws in some states that require HIV-positive people to disclose their status to sexual partners and injection drug users. Sharing your HIV status with anyone else is your choice.

Sex or Injection Partners

It is important to tell your partners if you have HIV before you have sex or inject drugs. This protects you under the law and also allows your partners to make decisions that protect their health.

If you have been diagnosed with another sexually transmitted disease (STD), you should tell your current or former partners. This will help them get tested for other STDs.

Following are two ways to inform your partners:

You tell your partners.

These conversations can be difficult. You may have been exposed to HIV by one of your partners, or you may have exposed one or more of them without knowing that they were infected.

The health department tells your partners.

Health Care Providers

In the United States, HIV is considered a serious health issue and there are laws in place to protect people living with HIV from discrimination. These laws also require health care providers to take measures to ensure that their patients' HIV status remains confidential. This means that you are not legally required to share your HIV status with your health care provider, but doing so can help them provide you with the best possible care. If you have any concerns about disclosing your HIV status to your health care provider, you can ask to speak to a patient advocate or counselor who can help address your concerns.

Family and Friends

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including your personal relationships and the laws of your state. In general, however, you are not required to disclose your HIV status to family or friends unless you have a specific reason to do so. For example, you may want to disclose your status to someone who is at risk of contracting HIV, or who you believe could be a source of support and understanding. You should also be aware that there are some situations in which disclosure may be required by law. For instance, many states require disclosure of HIV status before engaging in certain activities, such as tattooing or body piercing. If you are unsure about whether or not to disclose your status to someone, it is always best to consult with a medical professional or legal advisor.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects qualified individuals with HIV from discrimination in the workplace. Under the ADA, employers are prohibited from asking job applicants about their HIV status. However, an employer can require an employee to disclose their HIV status if the employer has a legitimate reason for doing so. For example, an employer might require an employee to disclose their HIV status if the employee will be working in a job that poses a significant risk of exposure to HIV. In addition, the ADA requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with HIV. Examples of reasonable accommodations include allowing flexible work schedules and providing hand sanitizer and gloves. Ultimately, whether or not to disclose one's HIV status is a personal decision. However, it is important to know that there are laws in place to protect people with HIV from workplace discrimination.