Guide to Australian HIV Laws and Policies for Healthcare Professionals


Australian health care providers deliver medical and other care under a complex umbrella of ethical and legal duties regulated by professional codes of ethics as well as diverse fields of law (including criminal, public health, administrative and anti-discrimination). In almost all clinical settings the primary focus of the health care professional is the care of one individual to whom the practitioner has responsibility. When providing care for individuals with HIV infection, other people including sexual partners, children and those potentially or actually at risk of contact with blood and body fluids are also indirectly the responsibility of health care providers and their patients. Health care providers’ management of these responsibilities must be based on science (evidence-based care), a caring approach (the art of health care), and the non-judgmental manner that supports a well-informed patient in their decision-making (patient primacy in decision making).

1. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. RACGP Standards for General Practices. 4th edition. Criterion 1.2.2 Informed patient decisions. Revised 2015. Available at: (last accessed September 2019).^

2. Magnusson R. Australian HIV/AIDS Legislation: a review for doctors. Aust N Z J Med 1996;26(3):396-406.^

3. Jennifer Power (2018) 'HIV Futures 8: Stigma and discrimination data', Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne, unpublished report^