HIV/Aids and Your Rights | Western Cape Government

HIV/Aids and Your Rights


People who are HIV positive or have been diagnosed with Aids have the same rights as everyone else.


Human dignity
Everyone has the right to have their dignity respected and protected. A person or institution (e.g. a hospital or company) may not insult or damage any person's self-respect, by their words or action.

You have the same right as anyone else to basic or adult basic education. A school cannot refuse to educate you or your child because you have HIV or Aids.

Medical Treatment
You have the right to make your own decision about medical treatment. No person may be refused emergency treatment. Hospitals or doctors cannot refuse to treat a person with HIV or Aids or force you to take a HIV test.

Everyone has the right to privacy. If you have HIV or Aids, you have the right to keep that information to yourself. Your boss, hospital or your doctor cannot force you to tell them, or force you to have a HIV/Aids test.

It is your right to make your own decisions about your pregnancy and medical treatment. No one can force you to terminate your pregnancy because you are HIV positive.

People with HIV or Aids can choose what kind of work they want to do. For example, you cannot be prevented from becoming a teacher or health care worker because you are HIV positive or have been diagnosed with Aids.

Everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing. People living with HIV or Aids may not be refused a subsidy or loan to buy a house. Evicting a person from a house or flat because of their health is illegal.

Social grant
You have the right to a disability grant if you are too ill to support yourself or your family.

Freedom of expression
Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes freedom to receive or give out information or ideas. This right is important as a way to ensure that the proper information about how to prevent HIV is available in schools or prisons.

Freedom of association
Everyone has the right to freedom of association. You can join any organisation or group you choose. You cannot be forcefully separated from other people.

Freedom of movement
All citizens have the right to enter, to remain in and live anywhere in the country. If you have HIV or Aids, you are free to move around the country.

Labour relations
Everyone has the right to fair labour practices. No person may be unfairly treated or discriminated against at work.

Everyone has a right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being.


If you are HIV positive or have Aids, you have the right to live your life with respect, dignity and freedom from discrimination and blame.


If you have any questions about HIV or Aids, you can phone the free 24-hour AIDS Helpline at 0800 012 322

If you feel that your rights are being violated, you can report this to the South African Human Rights Commission. You can also approach any of the NPO's in the health sector supporting people living with HIV.


List of organisations

Provided by:
Government Body: (The Government of South Africa)
The content on this page was last updated on 21 September 2017