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New Equality Act will Benefit People Living with HIV

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Equality Act is expected to receive Royal Assent tomorrow

NAT (National AIDS Trust) is today celebrating the completion of the Equality Bill’s journey through Parliament.  The Equality Act will introduce a number of improvements for people living with HIV when it comes into force in October 2010. 

The Equality Act, which is expected to receive Royal Assent tomorrow, prohibits the use of pre-employment healthcare questionnaires prior to an offer of employment. Until now, employers have been able to ask job applicants whether they have a disability, are taking medication or have a medical condition – even if it has no relevance to the role. The prohibition of pre-employment medical questionnaires will remove this barrier to people living with HIV entering the workplace.
 
The Act also includes protection from discrimination for people perceived to be, or associated with, someone who is HIV positive. The stigmatised nature of HIV means that many people who live with or care for people living with HIV face discrimination. In addition, groups particularly affected by the virus, such as gay and bisexual men, can experience discrimination because they are thought to be HIV positive. Dual discrimination will also be recognised for the first time; many people experience discrimination based on their HIV status and sexual orientation and/or ethnicity and so NAT welcomes this important new protection. 

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT, comments:
 
“We are delighted that the Equality Bill has made it onto the statute books. NAT has actively campaigned for the Bill to include real benefits for people living with HIV. We have succeeded in making sure people living with HIV will no longer have to fear being asked to disclose their status when applying for a job.
 
We are also pleased that the Act outlaws discrimination based on perception or association and dual discrimination. These new protections secured in the Equality Act are an important step towards a society free from HIV-related prejudice and discrimination.”


Notes to the editor:

For a full summary of the Equality Act see: http://www.equalities.gov.uk/equality_bill.aspx

For further information please contact:
Katherine Sladden
Communications Manager
NAT
020 7814 6733
press@nat.org.uk
 
NAT
NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expert advice and practical resources. We campaign for change.
Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.
www.nat.org.uk