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Precautions for the Avoidance of Infection With AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) Agent in the Course of Police Duties

NCJ Number
J Sellars
Date Published
14 pages
These two papers present a summary of information about Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), its modes of transmission, and the procedures that police officers should use when coming into contact with offenders or victims at risk for having AIDS or known to have it.
AIDS is a virus which is spread by intimate sexual contact (usually homosexual) and by transfusion of blood and blood products. In the United Kingdom, the disease occurs mainly in homosexuals and hemophiliacs. No evidence from the United States or the United Kingdom has indicated that casual contact with these patients spreads the disease. However, blood and blood-stained secretions from AIDS patients and carriers should be regarded as potentially hazardous. Police officers should take special precautions to avoid the risk of getting the disease. General precautions when dealing with someone known or suspected to have AIDS are to keep clean any nonskin surfaces that are contaminated with blood or secretions and to wash and cover wounds. Officers who sustain cuts or abrasions should attend to them before continuing their duties if possible. Strong hypochlorite should be used in disinfecting nonskin surfaces. When handling dead bodies, officers should wear disposable polythene gloves and should remove them carefully after finishing the task. When resuscitating persons, officers should use a portable airway device or should place a handkerchief on the victim. When searching persons at risk or handling them at the police station, officers should use general hygiene precautions (particularly washing) and should use disposable gloves in applying dressings to wounds. Police stations should have ample supplies of disposable gloves, have a paper bag for used gloves and airway devises, place printed instructions on AIDS in all charge rooms, and file reports of contacts with AIDS sufferers.


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