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NAT comment: ‘HIV markers still used by English Police’

June 12, 2020

National Aids Trust

Following today’s announcement from Police Scotland, spearheaded by HIV Scotland, National AIDS Trust (NAT) has highlighted that the practice of recording HIV status within a ‘contagious’ indicator are still being used in England and other parts of the UK, and they are pushing for this to change.

Kat Smithson, Director of Policy at National AIDS Trust, said: ‘Markers do nothing to protect police officers, but feed misconceptions about HIV and the idea that people living with HIV are ‘contagious’. We welcome Scotland’s Police Service decision to no longer hold information about a person’s HIV status. This is significant, but long overdue. 

‘We urge forces in other parts of the UK to also come to the same view that these markers breach data protection law and take steps to ensure that information about a person’s HIV status is removed across the force’s systems. 

‘We are aware in England that there are markers on the police national computer and the systems used by individual forces to label HIV and other blood borne viruses, often without proof of a person’s medical condition. Forces have the power to record if a person refers to HIV as part of a threat of harm, regardless of their status or whether there was actually risk of transmission, which there is not in the vast majority of cases. This is not justified, and we know from our discussions with police officers that HIV status is often recorded in other unnecessary circumstances.’

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