Sunday 4 December 2016

Garda HIV infection 'as likely as asteroid strike'

Ray Managh

Published 16/06/2010 | 05:00

THE risk of a garda contracting diseases from infected drug addicts is as likely as being struck by an asteroid, a High Court judge was told in a test case to define the real risk in 'spit and bite' incidents.

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Ms Justice Mary Irvine said the way to allay garda fears of catching Hepatitis or HIV infection was through education.

The State has paid out more than €30m in the past two years for psychological distress and other injuries suffered by gardai on duty.

Judge Irvine, in a judgment on three "fear of disease" test claims, said over-testing by doctors and the imposition of sex restrictions often caused unnecessary anxiety. The risk of being killed driving was much greater than the risk of contracting HIV or Hep C after an assault.

A search of medical literature produced only three cases where HIV had been transmitted by a bite.

Yesterday, she made awards in the three cases of €6,000, €7,000 and €15,000 respectively, saying the gardai had been maliciously assaulted. One had been spat upon and the other two bitten.

Irish Independent

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