Blood testing laws opposed
The State Government is under pressure to scrap laws that force people who spit at police to have mandatory tests for blood-borne viruses such as HIV.
Australia’s leading sexual health experts have condemned laws in WA, South Australia and Northern Territory, arguing they have no scientific basis. At a HIV-AIDS conference in Adelaide last Friday, experts passed a resolution stating their “profound disappointment” in the laws, which were introduced in WA in 2014, after strong lobbying by the WA Police Union. The laws compel people who expose officers to potential bloodborne viruses through bodily fluids to take a blood test immediately.
But Australasian Society for HIV Medicine chief executive Levinia Crooks said there had not been a case of HIV transmission from spitting or biting in Australia.
Police Minister Liza Harvey said the Government had introduced the laws after listening to police concerns. “There is no justification for invading the privacy of people in custody by forcing them to undergo blood tests when there is no risk to the officer,” she said.