Guide to Australian HIV Laws and Policies for Healthcare Professionals
HIV Notifications requirements
- Where a doctor or authorised nurse practitioner has reasonable grounds to believe that a patient has HIV or AIDS (Public Health Act 1997, section 102A(1)).
- Where a doctor has reasonable grounds to believe that a dead person had, or may have had, HIV or AIDS at the time of death and the person was a patient of the doctor immediately prior to death, or was examined by the doctor after death (Public Health Act 1997, section 102A(2)).
- Where a pathologist has tested a specimen taken from a person for any reason and the test indicates the person has, or may have, HIV or AIDS, then notification must be made by the pathologist, or the person in charge of the laboratory at which the test was performed, or the pathologist’s employer, as the case may be (section 103);
- Where the person is in charge of any hospital in which any patient has or may have HIV or AIDS (section 104);
- Where a counsellor who has counselled a person believes on reasonable grounds that the person has or may have HIV or AIDS (section 105(1); or
- Where a person who is responsible for the care, support, or education of someone else believes on reasonable grounds that the person for whom they are responsible has HIV or AIDS (section 105(2).
In all of the above circumstances the persons indicated must notify the chief health officer.
- It is preferred that the notification includes the complete surname and first name of the patient, however the notifier may as a minimum provide only the first two letters of the family and given names as well as the postcode of residence for the individual. (Public Health. Reporting of Notifiable Conditions. Code of Practice 2017. No 1)
- Medical practitioners are required to notify the Secretary of the Ministry of Health if they reasonably suspect a patient has HIV or AIDS, or when HIV or AIDS is reasonably suspected to be the cause of death on the basis of a post-mortem examination (Public Health Act 2010, section 54).
- Pathology laboratories are required to notify the Secretary of the Ministry of Health of a confirmed HIV antibody positive test result (Public Health Act 2010, section 55).
- If a medical practitioner suspects or diagnoses a person with AIDS (not HIV), the medical person must give specified information (as outlined in NT Government Gazette G48, 30/11/2005) to a medical officer (Notifiable Diseases Act 1981, section 8). (HIV, although notifiable, is notified by laboratories - see below)
- If a pathology laboratory diagnoses a person with HIV infection, the person in charge must give specified information (as outlined in NT Government Gazette G48, 30/11/2005) to the Communicable Disease Centre Chief Health Officer (Notifiable Diseases Act 1999, section 16).
- The notification information collected must include a person’s name but a coded name is entered on the NT notifiable diseases database.
- Doctors are required to notify AIDS diagnoses unless the examination was carried out in a hospital, in which case the person in charge of the hospital is responsible for notification (Public Health Act 2005, section 70).
- Diagnoses of HIV infection must be notified by the Director of the pathology laboratory which performed the test. Requests received by laboratories for HIV testing must also be notified by the Director of the pathology laboratory (Public Health Act 2005, section 72 & 73).
- List of notifiable conditions here
A medical practitioner or pathology service must notify a suspected case of HIV or death resulting from HIV within 3 days of that suspicion having been formed (South Australian Public Health Act 2011,section 64 and South Australian Public Health (Notifiable and Controlled Notifiable Conditions) Regulations 2012 section 4 & section 5).
The Act requires reports to be made in a manner and form determined by the Chief Public Health Officer (South Australian Public Health Act 2011,section 64). All notifiable diseases, including HIV, are notified by name but recorded in the database by name code. The Act has extensive confidentiality provisions at section 99 and section 100.
- The superintendent of a laboratory who is aware that a person has evidence of a HIV, must notify the Director or Public Health Officer (Guidelines for Notifying Diseases and Food Contaminants issued by the Director of Public Health under the Public Health Act 1997)
- Director may require any person or class of person, Agency or public authority to notify the Director of the presence in any sample of human tissue, substance of secretion of the human body of any notifiable disease (Public Health Act 1997 s46).
The notification must be identified by the first 2 letters of the given name and the first 2 letters of the surname of the patient alone. Only the postcode and suburb of the area in which the patient lives must be provided.
- The person in charge of a pathology laboratory is responsible for notifying the Secretary of the Department of Human Services that a person has or may have any notifiable condition, including HIV (s72(2) Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009)
- A medical practitioner who reasonably believes that a patient has or may have a HIV or AIDS, or has or may have died from either, must provide written notification within five days of initial diagnosis, using a form which is forwarded to the diagnosing medical practitioner with the laboratory confirmation of HIV infection and is available at www.health.vic.gov.au/notify.
Medical practitioners and pathologists must only notify using the patient code, being the first two letters of the family name and the first two letters of the given name, sex, date of birth and residential postcode (s70 Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009)
A medical practitioner or nurse practitioner forms the opinion that a patient of the practitioner has, or may have HIV or HIV-related condition must notify the Chief Health Officer (Public Health Act 2016, http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/wa/consol_act/pha2016126/s94.html that the patient from whom the sample was taken has, or may have, a notifiable infectious disease or notifiable infectious disease-related condition, the responsible pathologist of that pathology laboratory must notify the Chief Health Officer. (Public Health Act 2016, s94 (3)).
- Notification should occur as soon as is practictable, and not more than 72 hours after the opinion is formed that patient has or may have HIV.
Notifications of HIV infection need not include the telephone number of the patient or the email address of the patient or the patient’s medical practitioner or nurse practitioner. The HIV-specific notification form is here: (https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/~/media/Files/Corporate/general%20documents/communicable%20diseases/PDF/HIV-Notification-form.pdf)