Civil Rights

Content From: HIV.govUpdated: November 10, 20172 min read

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Laws Protect People Living with HIV and AIDS

If you are living with HIV or AIDS, you are protected against discrimination on the basis of your HIV under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Under these laws, discrimination means that you are not allowed to participate in a service that is offered to others, or you are denied a benefit, because of your HIV disease.

For more information, see the Department of Justice’s website.

For more information in the health care context, see the Office of Civil Rights’ Civil Rights: HIV/AIDS.

Federal Law

Both Section 504 and the ADA prohibit discrimination against qualified persons, including those with HIV/AIDS.

The ADA prohibits discrimination by employers, places of public accommodation, and state and local government entities. Section 504 prohibits health and human service providers or organizations that get Federal funds or assistance from discriminating against you because you are living with HIV/AIDS. Examples of entities that may be covered by the ADA and/or Section 504 include hospitals, clinics, social services agencies, drug treatment centers, nursing homes, doctors’ offices, dentists’ offices, daycares, public pools, and fitness gyms. Again, under these laws, discrimination means that you are not allowed to participate in a service that is offered to others, or you are denied a benefit, because of your HIV disease. The ADA also protects your family and friends from discrimination because of YOUR HIV status, based on their association with you.

For more information, see OCR’s Your Rights Under Section 504 and the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Privacy

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) also enforces the Privacy Rule under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which protects the privacy of your health information and gives you the right to review and make corrections to your medical records. For more information, see OCR’s Health Information Privacy, Protecting the Civil Rights and Health Information Privacy Rights of People Living with HIV, or How to File a Complaint.