Garda HIV infection 'as likely as asteroid strike'
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.
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.