Sexual partners

Published: 30 June 2012

Are people with HIV obliged to tell their sexual partners?

It is not an offence under the law of England, Wales or Northern Ireland for a person with HIV to have sex without informing their sexual partner that they have HIV.

However, if HIV transmission does take place, not having disclosed HIV status could, in certain circumstances, mean that a prosecution for reckless HIV transmission would be possible.

To be guilty of reckless HIV transmission, the following five points all have to apply at the time of an alleged offence:

  • You knew you had HIV
  • You understood how HIV is transmitted
  • You had sex with someone who didn't know you had HIV
  • You had sex without a condom
  • You transmitted HIV to that person

Scottish law is different and more restrictive of people with HIV. However the issue is behaviour which puts others at risk of HIV transmission, not disclosure of HIV status.

Under the Scottish common law offence of ‘culpable and reckless conduct’, unprotected sex by people with HIV may be prosecuted, whether or not disclosure prior to sex takes place and regardless of whether transmission actually occurs.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.
Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap
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This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.