Your rights

When attending NHS or other health and social care services, you can expect to be treated in a way that helps to keep you healthy and well.

People with HIV are often concerned about the following questions:

Will I be treated fairly like anyone else?

The law states that you must be treated fairly and equally, and your HIV status must not be used as a reason to discriminate. You cannot be refused a service because of being HIV positive, or because someone thinks you might be. This is a duty for all health and social care services in Scotland.

The Equality Act 2010

Public and patient information from the British Medical Association

Is the information I give confidential?

Doctors and others in the health service must respect your privacy and confidentiality. The principles and professional standards under which they operate are set out by the General Medical Council.

General Medical Council

Confidentiality: Disclosing information about serious communicable diseases (PDF)

What standards can I expect?

Quality standards of treatment, fairness, confidentiality and professionalism must be followed regardless of where you receive services. Standards in HIV care and Sexual Health Services may be found on Health Care Improvement Scotland. Voluntary organisations also have codes of conduct for staff and volunteers which they must follow. For an example of a voluntary organisation's standards, please see Waverley Care.

Like anyone else who uses the National Health Service (NHS), you have a right to safe, high-quality services designed to meet the needs of patients, their carers and families. In practice, this means your doctor and clinic will:

  • Provide health services for everyone regardless of ability to pay, and no matter your race, sex, age, sexual orientation, faith, political beliefs or disability
  • Respond to your needs
  • Communicate with you, explaining choices in a way that you can understand
  • Involve you in decisions about your care and respect your independence and right to choose
  • Give you information about your treatment and care
  • Keep your information safe and confidential and to know how this is done
  • Work together with others in the health service to get the best for you
  • Work with you to help you to stay healthy
  • Involve you in improving services
  • Welcome your comments and, where you are unhappy with a service, deal with your complaints.

What support can I get?

If you think you have not been treated fairly by an NHS or a voluntary organisation, ask for the complaints procedure and for support in making your complaint.

If you do not feel satisfied with the response, or need support having your voice heard in any way, you may find advocacy support will be helpful. Find out more on our page about advocacy or contact the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance.

If your complaint is about media coverage, HIV Scotland or other HIV agencies may take up your complaint with the editor or the Press Complaints Commission. Contact us to find out more.