Blood-borne viruses

What you need to know about blood-borne viruses in the workplace

Combating discrimination - employment and blood-borne viruses

​HIV and other BBVs can affect anyone.

Most people infected are of working age and with advances in treatment, more people with HIV and other Blood-borne viruses (BBVs) will continue or will want to, return to work.

Under the Equality Act 2010, 'disability' includes 'progressive' conditions such as HIV. It is unlawful for people with disabilities to be treated less favourably including at work.

Employers are also responsible for the actions of their employees and you should take steps to prevent employees’ developing negative attitudes or behaviour towards others that could be discriminatory.

Therefore, employers have a valuable role to play in raising awareness. Below are some practical steps you can take.

Develop a BBV policy

Integrate an infection control policy with existing policies e.g. equal opportunities, health and safety.


Train all staff, including senior management, on HIV and other BBVs and their respective roles within the policy context.

You may be able to access free training from your local health board or other agencies. World AIDS Day is a good opportunity to introduce the subject into the workplace.

Provide information

Provide sources of advice, support and information, both within and out with your workplace. These can be displayed on staff notice boards and/or in toilets.


Respect the confidentiality of employees’ personal and medical information. People with a BBV may need to be reassured about the confidentiality they are entitled to by your organisation.

Be explicit about anti-discrimination measures

If your workplace has anti-discriminatory policies, you should consider adding in specific references to HIV and other BBVs.

Provide healthcare information for travelling workers

If an employees' job involves travel outside the UK, particularly to areas of high incidence of HIV/AIDS, you should provide employees with healthcare advice.

Remember – you do not need to know the HIV status of individual employees to protect the health and safety of all your employees.

Contact information

Message us or call our advice line on 0800 019 2211 if you need further information about BBVs.