Police to remove people’s HIV status from database

Police Scotland say people with HIV will no longer be logged as 'contagious' after a charity raised concerns.

Police Scotland will no longer record people with HIV as “contagious” in its intelligence database after a charity raised concerns.

HIV Scotland uncovered the practice after it wrote to the force to ask whether it holds information about an individual’s HIV status on the Scottish Intelligence Database (SID) and whether it is stored under an “infectious” marker.

Police replied in March that a “contagious” indicator was added to people with HIV but that this practice would be immediately reviewed.

In June the force said that, following a review, people with HIV will no longer be logged as contagious and existing information detailing HIV status will be removed.

Assistant chief constable Alan Speirs said: “A recent review of the Scottish Intelligence Database (SID) has resulted in Police Scotland amending its practice and policy.

“We no longer log HIV status as a contagious indicator and existing indicators which detailed HIV status will be removed.”

HIV Scotland chief executive Nathan Sparling welcomed the news but said that fundamental questions remain, such as whether police will review activity that has led to people living with HIV being targeted or discriminated against because of their HIV status.

He also asked what training has been provided to officers from constable to higher ranks to ensure that any knowledge intelligence – information that is known to officers but not stored in SID – is not used to discriminate against people.

Mr Sparling went on: “We happened to, by chance, uncover a systematic issue that could have impacted the lives of people living with HIV. What other information is stored on SID that could have negative consequences for people?

“We hope that this action will have a positive impact and shows the public that people living with HIV are not contagious.

“People living with HIV should no longer be the victim of stigma that is rooted in the ’80s.”

Nathan Sparling, HIV Scotland chief executive

“The modern reality is that many people living with HIV who are on treatment, that is so effective it reduces levels of the virus to a level that is undetectable in the blood, can’t pass it on to their sexual partners and significantly reduces the risk of transmission through other routes.

“People living with HIV should no longer be the victim of stigma that is rooted in the 80s.”

HIV Scotland said that around 97% of people living with HIV in Scotland are on effective treatment and have an undetectable viral load, which means they cannot pass it on to others through sexual contact and transmission risk through other routes is reduced dramatically.

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