NAT (National AIDS Trust) is calling on all UK police forces to ensure their guidance and policies on HIV are up-to-date – and to use NAT’s new resource ‘HIV: A guide for Police Forces’ for this purpose.
‘HIV: A guide for police forces’ is endorsed by BHIVA (the British HIV Association) and includes information about how HIV is and isn’t transmitted, what to do if you are exposed to HIV, how to respond to someone with HIV, and information about criminal prosecution for HIV transmission. It also includes an easy-to-use checklist to ensure blood borne virus training and occupational health policies are fit for purpose and up-to-date.
The guidance was produced in response to a review by NAT of a sample of policies and guidelines from 15 police constabularies in the UK. NAT found some forces wrongly cited spitting, scratching, urine, sharing toothbrushes and handling or lifting of people as routes to transmission.
NAT also found policies recommending the use of ‘spit hoods’ to protect police from HIV transmission though spitting cannot transmit HIV, and other policies stating people living with HIV and in custody should be held separately and that interviews should be conducted through cell doors or cell door hatches.
NAT is writing to all police forces in Britain to ask them to use this new guide, and ensure that training around HIV is correct and up-to-date.
Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT, said, “By producing this guidance we have given police forces the information and evidence they need to ensure their policies and procedures on dealing with HIV are up-to-date and non-stigmatising and to help reduce unnecessary worry about HIV transmission amongst police officers. We are now calling on them to make sure it is put into practice.”
NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. It provides fresh thinking, expertise and practical resources, and champions the rights of people living with HIV and campaign for change. For further information please visit www.nat.org.uk