No discrimination

It is forbidden in Germany to segregate other people - even people with HIV and AIDS. If you have HIV or AIDS and someone discriminates against you because of this, you can get help, for example from the Anti-Discrimination Agency of German AIDS Help (Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe):

Telling other people

If you have HIV or AIDS, in Germany you have the right to decide whom you want to tell.

However, you should always tell your doctors,

  • as they can then judge whether a disease that you have is related to HIV and so treat you better.
  • If you are taking medication for HIV, you must inform all of your doctors in order that the medication they give you for other diseases is suitable to coincide with the HIV medication.

Infecting other people with HIV

If you intentionally or unintentionally infect a person with HIV, you become liable to prosecution. The safest thing to do then is always to use a condom when having sex.

Doctor-patient confidentiality

In principle, your doctor is never permitted to tell anyone without your permission that you have HIV. This includes even the Jobcentre (Arbeitsamt), foreigner registration offices, your employer, the police, the prosecutor's office, your family etc.

A woman confides in a female doctor. The doctor is not permitted to share this information

Doctor-patient confidentiality: the exceptions

If you have HIV and your doctor believes that it presents a danger to other people, s/he is allowed to talk with other people about your HIV infection.

An example of this is if you have HIV and do not tell your sexual partner but continue to have sex with him/her without using a condom.

In cases like this, your doctor must point out to you that you could infect your partner. If in spite of this you still do not tell your partner about your infection and continue to have sex with him/her without using a condom, your doctor has the right to inform your partner.

If your partner is also being treated by the same doctor, the doctor must inform your partner about your HIV infection.

HIV and insurance

If you have HIV and take out insurance, and in the process are asked if you have any diseases, you must tell the truth. If you lie, the contract is invalid. This will leave you with no entitlement to the insurance services and you will not receive back the money that you have already paid.

HIV and employment

You cannot get HIV by shaking the hand of an HIV-positive person

If you are HIV positive, in principle your entitlement to work in Germany is exactly the same as any other person's, even in the fields of nursing, geriatric care, childcare and youth welfare, or in food processing etc.

HIV cannot be transmitted in everyday working life.

Applying for a job

In a job interview, the employer is entitled to ask you questions that are important for the work that you would be doing. If you deliberately answer these questions incorrectly, the employer can fire you at a later date because of this.

You do not have to tell the employer that you have HIV if it is not important in relation to the job. If you tell your boss that you have HIV, it does not permit your boss simply to tell your colleagues without your permission.

You also do not have to take a HIV test if you do not want to, even if the employer tells you that you have to.

If you have HIV and your condition is treated well by a doctor, you will normally not get ill more often than a person without HIV.

Dismissal

If you are fired because you have HIV, you can fight against this and get a lawyer involved. It is forbidden in Germany to fire someone simply because s/he has HIV.

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