Confidentiality of HIV test results

The results of HIV tests are confidential. These results are a part of a person’s confidential medical records and the same confidentiality principles apply as for other medical information on record – paper records and e-records, including the person’s Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record.

It is possible for individuals who do not wish to disclose their name or Medicare number to have ‘anonymous’ HIV testing.

For surveillance purposes – i.e., for the collation of state/territory and national data on HIV diagnoses - laboratories and state and national databases are given coded information on each HIV diagnosis and related data (such as age, location, mode of transmission), but not the identity of the individual concerned. 

Informed consent

HIV tests can generally only be performed with a patient’s informed consent prior to testing. Exceptions include when a legal order is made for compulsory testing, or in emergency situations.

The National HIV Testing Policy identifies key considerations in obtaining informed consent.