This page is for all teachers (especially head teachers), school governors and anyone who has responsibility for staff or pupils in schools.

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful to discriminate against people living with HIV from the point of diagnosis. This means that schools cannot discriminate against pupils or staff living with HIV.

It also means that schools should make reasonable adjustments to ensure people living with HIV can work or study at the school.

Despite these legal protections, there are still cases of children being refused a place or excluded and staff being sacked or not employed simply because they are living with HIV.

It is important to remember:

  • Having a child living with HIV in school poses no risk to staff or pupils. There is no known case of an HIV transmission occurring at school.
  • HIV cannot be passed on by spitting, small cuts or grazes, sharing utensils or toilets seats. No case has ever been recorded of HIV transmission from child to child by biting, fighting, playing or any other normal childhood interaction.
  • Virtually all children living with HIV are completely healthy for the majority of their school career. With appropriate treatment and care, they can live a long and healthy life.
  • Children living with HIV have regular clinical check-ups and those that need medication may take it at home once or twice a day.
  • HIV suppresses the immune system so children living with HIV have to take care not to catch childhood illnesses, such as measles or chicken pox as these can have severe health implications for them.

If you are a school and would like more information then please download our HIV in Schools Pack.

You can find out the facts about HIV here.

If you have experience of discrimination in schools that you would like to share then you can do so here.

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