Police force accused of scaremongering about HIV following spit guards introduction

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A police force has been accused of scaremongering about HIV after it said it would introduce spit guards so that the risk of bloodborne disease infecting is to be decreased. The spit guards, which are tight mesh hoods officers can pull over the heads of resisting suspects not to allow them to spit or bite them. “Each day we face being spat at, putting us at risk of HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis and the degrading assault can have a lasting psychological impact,” said Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Cullen. It was assumed that a drunk woman with hepatitis tried to attack a paramedic and after that it was decided to take some actions to avoid similar situations in future. “She was continually spitting, spit that was bloody. It was disgusting; she was trying to infect us,” said Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Cullen to The Guardian. But medical professionals have said that both hepatitis C and HIV cannot be passed through spit. “HIV is irrelevant to the debate about spit hoods because spitting simply is not an HIV transmission route,” said Kath Smithson, the director of policy at the National Aids Trust, to The Guardian. In the history of the epidemic, there has never been a case of HIV being passed on through spitting, even when the spit contains blood.”

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