What are the exceptions to HIV disclosure in the workplace?

Health care workers:

Only those nurses, dentists and doctors who perform exposure Prone Procedures (ePPs) have to know and disclose their HIV status. EPPs include procedures performed in a confined body cavity where there is poor visibility and a risk of cutting yourself with a sharp tool, or on a tooth or sharp piece of bone. This restriction particularly affects surgeons, operating theatre nurses and dentists.

Doctors, dentists or nurses whose work involves performing exposure Prone Procedures are required to know their HIV and other blood borne virus status, and not perform ePPs if they are HIV positive. If you are an HIV positive surgeon, dentist or operating theatre nurse, you must notify your professional registration body and seek advice from them as to the types of procedures you may and may not perform or assist with. Health professionals should seek clarification if they are unsure whether their work involves exposure Prone Procedures.

Ancillary staff such as clerical workers, porters, cleaners and laundry staff in hospitals, nursing homes and other health care settings do not have to disclose their HIV status to employers or prospective employers.

Defence force:

Everyone who applies to join the Australian Defence force is tested for HIV. If you are HIV positive, you will not be accepted into the force. The ADF also regularly test serving personnel. The ADF is exempted from the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act.


In the past, HIV positive people faced restrictions on the classes of commercial aviation licences they could hold. These restrictions are under review at the time of publication. Contact the civil aviation safety authority or QPP for further information.

It is an offence to give false or misleading information, or to omit information when completing an application for an aviation medical examination. This includes lying about one’s HIV status, the maximum penalty is twelve months imprisonment.

Source: HIV/AIDS Legal Centre, Sydney  http://halc.org.au/publications/guides-to-hiv-and-the-law/

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