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HIV/AIDS Legal Centre (HALC)

HALC volunteers are sensitive to the variety of issues that may face people living with and affected by HIV. HALC provides legal advice to people living with and affected by HIV within Victoria. People ‘affected’ includes partners, family members, close friends and carers, of a person living with HIV.

LEGAL SERVICES

HALC can assist with a variety of matters including:

IMMIGRATION
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Most Australian visa applications require you to disclose your health condition, including HIV status. There will also be questions about whether you expect to incur medical costs, or require treatment or medical follow up.

If you are 15 years old or above, a HIV test is required if you apply for a permanent visa, or intend to study or work in certain medical professions in Australia. If you are less than 15 years old, a HIV test is required if you have had blood transfusions, any clinical indication of HIV-positive potential, or family history of positive HIV.

In many visa applications, case officers take into account different factors relating to your health. They will consider whether your condition is a threat to public health. Generally, HIV is not considered a threat to public health, but this may change if you intend to study or work in certain medical professions.

Secondly, a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth will consider whether your condition will be a significant cost to the Australian community, or affect Australians’ access to healthcare or community services. If so, your visa will not be granted unless a health waiver is available and exercised.

EMPLOYMENT
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You are generally not required to tell your employer or prospective employer about your HIV status. In many circumstances, you are also not required to undertake an HIV test before commencing employment with a new employer.

However, if your HIV status is relevant to the inherent requirements of your job, or to workplace health and safety, you may be required to disclose it. For example, depending on the circumstances, you may be required to declare your HIV status if you are a healthcare worker, a worker in the defence force, a sex worker, or if you work in aviation. Whether your HIV status is relevant to a particular job will vary on a case by case basis.

If you are asked about your HIV status by your employer and you don’t feel comfortable disclosing that information, you should seek legal advice from a lawyer. Depending on the circumstances, it may constitute unlawful discrimination if your employer terminates your employment or otherwise treats you unfavourably based on your HIV status.

DISCRIMINATION
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Under Victorian discrimination law, being HIV positive and having an HIV related illness or AIDS is considered a disability, even if the disease does not noticeably affect a person’s health.

It is unlawful to discriminate against a person living with HIV in certain settings, including:

  • in most employment settings (see also the Employment section above);
  • when providing educational services;
  • when providing accommodation;
  • when providing goods and services; and
  • when providing membership to clubs.

HALC can also assist with:

  • Making a will
  • Medical powers of attorney
  • Enduring powers of attorney
  • Criminal law
  • Family law
  • Superannuation
  • Centrelink matters
  • Family and relationship law
  • Disclosure of status for insurance purposes
  • Equal opportunity
  • Debt
  • Small/civil claims
  • Unconscionable conduct
  • Contracts of sale
  • Tenancy

A range of information brochures are available.

APPOINTMENTS
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Appointments with lawyers are only offered at the PLC on Thursdays from 7.00pm to 9.00 pm. Availabilities are limited.

HALC will attempt to provide legal assistance within a reasonable period of time. Referrals will be offered under certain circumstances.

CONTACT US
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If you would like advice on a legal matter, please contact the PLC on (03) 9863 0444 to speak to a Client Care Worker for an initial discussion and referral.

If you require urgent legal advice, please contact:

St Kilda Legal Service
For general enquiries, call: (03) 7037 3200 (Monday-Friday)
info@skls.org.au
http://www.skls.org.au
161 Chapel Street, St Kilda VIC 3182
For the LGBTIQ+ Legal Program, call: (03) 7037 3208 (2-5PM Monday, Wednesday, Friday)

OR

Victoria Legal Aid 1300 792 387 www.legalaid.vic.gov.au

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