Published August, 2014

Know Your Rights, Massachusetts – HIV, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)

Know Your Rights, Massachusetts – HIV is a fact sheet created by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders that summarizes the rights of people living with HIV in Massachusetts. It provides a description of how, both under Massachusetts and federal law, discrimination on the basis of HIV status is prohibited.  

In Massachusetts, “medical providers” are prohibited from revealing a person’s HIV test results or status unless they are given written consent. Additionally, if someone who is not a medical provider reveals a person’s HIV status to others, Massachusetts’s general privacy law provides a cause of action to sue. A defendant must provide a legitimate reason for the disclosure that outweighs the person’s right to privacy. 

Furthermore, an employer may not refuse to hire, fire, or discriminate against a person regarding the terms or conditions of employment based on that person’s HIV status. A person may not be denied access to housing, evicted, or refused financing because of their HIV status. Also, discrimination based on HIV status against students in a public school or most private schools is prohibited.

There are no specific criminal laws concerning the transmission the HIV in Massachusetts. A person may not be required to take an HIV test under any circumstances. Oral consent is required for HIV testing.