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Your healthcare rights

doctor talking patient through leaflet

We are all entitled to fair and respectful treatment in healthcare and under the 2010 Equality Act it is illegal to treat someone less favourably because they have HIV.

Does the Equality Act 2010 apply to health services?

This law applies to anyone providing “goods, facilities and services to the public” - and that includes healthcare providers.

This means that if a doctor, dentist or other health or social care provider refuses to treat you because you have HIV, or treats you differently to other patients, it’s against the law.

There are things you can do if you are unhappy with the way you have been treated. See our section on When you’re not happy for more information on the action you can take, and where to get support to take it, if that’s what you’d like.

Health workers are also obliged to protect your confidentiality. You can find out more about how your confidentiality should be protected in Confidentiality.

You may be worried about accessing NHS care because of your immigration status. Rules about entitlement are complicated but you will still be entitled to NHS care in certain situations. In the UK, all HIV treatment is free regardless of your immigration status.

You can find out more in our sections on Immigration and healthcare and Immigration.

If you feel you've been discriminated against you can call the THT Direct helpline for free advice.


The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 16/7/2014 by R. Bignami

Date due for the next review: 16/7/2017

Content Author: R. Pebody, NAM

Current Owner: G. Hughson, NAM

More information:

NHS Equality and diversity in the NHS

NAT/THT Will I have to pay? October 2012: