Guide to Australian HIV Laws and Policies for Healthcare Professionals

Public health offences

Health care providers have an obligation to provide advice that is: based on best current scientific evidence; tailored to the person’s individual health, treatment and social situation; practical and specific in nature, including access to condoms and other harm reduction methodologies (e.g. needle-syringe access or PrEP); and further information sources for support and education (e.g. peer organisations and other quality information sources). It is also important that health care providers are aware of HIV-related public health offences so that they may clearly advise their patients of their responsibilities. Doctors are not lawyers, and so while health care providers must advise patients of their public health responsibilities, they should make it clear to the patient that they can provide general information only which is not a substitute for the patient obtaining his or her own legal advice.

State-based public health offences are listed below.

State-based obligations

This section includes public health laws relating to patients. It also includes public health laws outlining health care providers’ responsibilities when diagnosing HIV infection in the six jurisdictions where specific laws exist: ACT, NSW, Northern Territory, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia.