Discrimination and HIV

This section provides information on legislation to protect people with HIV from discrimination.

This content applies to Scotland

HIV/AIDS discrimination

The Equality Act 2010 protects disabled people from discrimination in many areas, including housing. The Act defines disability which includes HIV. [1] It is unlawful for someone letting property to discriminate unreasonably against a disabled person. [2] This applies to private landlords, agencies, local authorities and registered social landlords. There is a small premises exemption, which means that the legislation will not apply if the property meets all of the following conditions: [3]

  • The landlord or a near relative is living in the premises and intends to continue living there.

  • The landlord or near relative will share some of the accommodation with the tenant.

  • There is, in addition to the accommodation occupied by the landlord or near relative, accommodation for no more than two other separate households if the property is divided into separate lettings.

Discrimination will also occur where a landlord fails to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate a disabled person in specified circumstances and is unable to justify that failure. [4] Again, the small premises exemption above applies.

A local authority is also prohibited from discriminating unreasonably against a disabled person in the provision of its services. [5] This could apply when the local authority is carrying out its homelessness functions or when it is allocating accommodation.

Claims for unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 must be brought in the sheriff court. [6] The court may award damages that may include compensation for injury to feelings. In general, claims must be started within six months of the act of discrimination. [7]

The Equality and Human Rights Commission may be able to provide advice and representation to someone who has been discriminated against on account of a disability.

Last updated: 11 December 2019


  • [1]

    sch.1 part 1 (6) Equality Act 2010

  • [2]

    s.35 Equality Act 2010

  • [3]

    sch 5. Equality Act 2010

  • [4]

    s.20 and s.21 Equality Act 2010

  • [5]

    s.149 Equality Act 2010

  • [6]

    s.114 Equality Act 2010

  • [7]

    s.118 Equality Act 2010