Police officers are advised wrongly on HIV risk

Publication date

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Police Federation has today launched Protect the Protectors, a campaign highlighting the issue of assault on police officers.  NAT (National AIDS Trust) has raised concerns that case studies referring to spitting and biting incidents confirm police officers are put through unnecessary distress due to poor advice relating to the risk of HIV transmission.

Empowering a new generation: HIV and young gay men

It has been thirty years since the HIV virus was discovered, and despite great progress, more people are contracting HIV in the UK than ever before. In addition, as was true at the start of the epidemic, it is still gay men who are disproportionately affected. Worryingly, diagnoses among young gay men have doubled in 10 years. The lack of progress in reducing HIV transmissions is unacceptable, and urgently requires renewed leadership from local and national government.

Improving police training and tackling the fear of HIV

‘When asked about the most dangerous aspects of their jobs, neither constable misses a beat. "You can be searching somebody who has HIV/Aids, or hepatitis," says Hawke. "You'll empty a rucksack and it'll be full of uncapped needles. That, for me, is the biggest fear: a fear of infection.” ‘– Guardian article, 26 March 2013 'The police are constantly under attack from the government'. Of all the risks the police face in their day-to-day jobs - attacks from armed criminals, stress, injuries from the physical nature of their jobs – all too often HIV transmission is cited in the media.

Are police at risk of HIV at work?

In the press this week there have been a number of reports about a man living with HIV who attacked and bit two police officers in Brighton. The Chief Superintendent commented that the incident reflected the ‘enormous risks that officers experience each and every day.’ But is there really a serious risk of contracting HIV from a bite? And are police officers in danger of HIV transmission when on duty?

New Guidance for Police Investigating Criminal Transmission of HIV

Publication date

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Police and HIV sector work together to produce guidance

New guidance has been produced to help police when investigating allegations of criminal transmission of HIV.  The guidance provides police officers with basic facts about HIV and sets out advice on how to deal with complaints about reckless (or intentional) transmission of HIV in a fair and sensitive manner.

NAT statement on Nadja Benaissa sentence for HIV transmission

Publication date

Thursday, August 26, 2010

In response to today's verdict and sentence in Germany on Nadja Benaissa for HIV transmission, Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT, said:

'The trial in Germany of Nadja Benaissa for criminally transmitting HIV has attracted worldwide attention.

NAT does not condone placing a sexual partner at risk of HIV without that partner's consent.  But there is no evidence that criminal prosecutions do anything to prevent such behaviour.  We would do far better focussing on reducing the stigma in society which silences discussion of HIV and on increasing condom use and a sense of reponsibility for our own and our partners' sexual health.

NAT regrets that this case ever went to court but hopes that the debate it has prompted will encourage renewed effort by society as a whole to reduce HIV transmission rather than the blaming and scapegoating of individuals.'

One in five adults do not realise HIV is transmitted through sex without a condom between a man and a woman

Publication date

Friday, February 18, 2011
  • Only three in ten adults (30%) can correctly identify, from a list of possible routes, all of the ways HIV is and is not transmitted
  • An increasing proportion of adults incorrectly believe HIV can be transmitted by impossible routes such as kissing and spitting
  • Nearly a fifth of adults (19%) believe if a family member was HIV positive it would damage their relationship with them
  • More than two thirds of British adults (68%) agree more needs to be done to tackle prejudice against people living with HIV in the UK

Over 90 percent of the british public do not fully understand how hiv is transmitted

Publication date

Thursday, January 17, 2008
The National AIDS Trust announces today [17 January], findings from their Public Attitudes Towards HIV Survey, which shows more than 1 out of 5 people in the UK cannot identify each of the main ways in which HIV is transmitted.  And only 6 per cent surveyed were able to correctly identify all of the ways HIV was transmitted, without any false responses.

NAT Welcomes Lancet Report Calling for Needle Programs in Prison

Publication date

Wednesday, December 24, 2008
NAT (National AIDS Trust) welcomes the report Interventions to Reduce HIV Transmission Related to Injecting Drug Use in Prison by Dr Ralf Jürgens, an HIV consultant based in Quebec, Canada, and colleagues on behalf of WHO and published in the January edition of Lancet Infectious Diseases.
The report concludes prisons should have needle and syringe programs and other preventive measures in place to prevent HIV transmission between inmates.