The Hepatitis C Trust and NAT respond to police spit hoods debate

Publication date

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Hepatitis C Trust and NAT (National AIDS Trust) have expressed concern about recent press coverage around the use of 'spit hoods' by police forces in the UK that has focused on their supposed value in preventing hepatitis C and HIV transmission.

Both organisations wish to make clear that hepatitis C and HIV cannot be transmitted via spitting. Suggestions to the contrary are not only incorrect, but are hugely damaging as they reinforce existing stigma and misconceptions that surround both viruses.

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.

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.