Blood test­ing laws op­posed

Pilbara News - - News - Cathy O’Leary

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.

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