A report by the National AIDS Trust has found that police advice on dealing with their own risk of HIV and that of people in custody is outdated and inaccurate.
The report: ‘Police Occupational Health Policies and Blood Borne Virus Training: Protecting Health?’ found that many police officers were having unnecessary HIV tests which cost the Police Force money and time, as well as increasing anxiety and helping promote inaccurate information about how HIV is transmitted.
The study found that the main areas problems were that police guidelines were not correct with how HIV can be spread: spitting, scratching, urine and sharing toothbrushes were cited as possible ways of becoming infected. HIV cannot be transmitted in any these ways, and it does need to be bodily fluid contact. Current guidelines also said that people who are HIV positive in custody should be segregated and not allowed to share facilities with others.
Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of the National AIDS Trust, said: “By providing police with appropriate information and training on HIV – particularly around transmission routes – we can begin to break down stigma in this area and ensure a balanced response to risk.”
Better2Know gives you the power to decide when to have your HIV test, and ensure you get your results quickly and confidentially. Better2Know has clinics across the UK and you can choose your own combination of tests including HIV and all STDs and STIs.