Parents of children with HIV
If your child is HIV positive, you need to know what protections are in place for your child's confidentiality at school.
A good starting point is this section of the Children's HIV Association’s (CHIVA) website.
A child who is living with or is affected by HIV has the same right as any child to attend school and access education. They’re also protected by the Equality Act, which means it’s unlawful to discriminate against them.
Do I need to tell my child’s school about their HIV status?
You’re not obliged to disclose that your child or a family member has HIV as it’s not a notifiable illness.
If you do decide to disclose your child’s HIV status, it’s a good idea to start with the head teacher and another teacher or staff member whom your child likes. If there’s a school nurse, it may also be worth telling them.
Any medical information you disclose should be kept confidential. Teachers and head teachers legally have to keep medical information confidential because it’s covered by the Data Protection Act 2018.
What are the advantages of telling my child’s school?
It can be useful to tell the school if your child has to have frequent time off for medical appointments. It can also be a good way to ensure that your child has some extra support if they need it. Very young children may need a teacher to monitor their anti-HIV medication, for example.
Students with HIV
If you’re at school or are about to start college or university, you may be thinking of disclosing your HIV status to a teacher, tutor or lecturer.
What are the advantages of telling my school or college about my HIV status?
This may be a good idea if you’re frequently absent because you’re unwell. If your own or a family member’s HIV impacts on your education, it may be worth telling someone who can offer you the support you need to do your work and attend lessons as much as you can. You can read more about your rights on CHIVA’s website.
What support is available to me?
You might find it useful to get some advice from a specialist organisation such as Body and Soul or CHIVA who provide advice and support to children and young people with HIV. You can also contact THT Direct by email or on 0808 802 1221 for support.