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HIV positive soldiers

#1
I recently overheard something that got my attention, namely that the MoD are aware of some hundeds of HIV positive personnel joing the Army.

Although their situation is known to the MoD their names cannot be released as it is a medical matter and so subject ( I'm assuming here ) to the Access to Medical Records legislation.

The MoD is an employer and as such has a duty to keep this information confidential.

The problem here is that HIV can be spread by blood, and lets face it, in the current operational climate there is rather more blood being split that any of us would like.

If you are giving BCD or first aid to somebody who is bleeding there is an obvious and real risk of infection. Sure, the BCDT leaflet tells you to wear protective gloves whenever dealing with casualties, but it seems to me that there should be considerably greater empahsis given to this eventuality than I currently see.

There is also the question of an employers' duty of care to employees who are *not* HIV positive.

Please note that this is not a homophobic issue AIUI.
 
#2
Not entirely sure that's accurate B_B. I read something a while back that addressed the issue of HIV across all three services and it totalled 5 cases. These personnel were allowed to continue with service, but not at an operational level.
 
#4
Go through the list from Acute Something Very Nasty to Yellow Fever and you will find that HIV is not a Notifiable Disease.

OK harder to contract than most but seems rather odd.
 
#5
Surely it cannot be policy to accept a recruit who is already P7 through HIV? (I imagine that one could not be assessed above that level) If that is the case then conditions like diabetes should not be a bar to enlistment? Whether it is a notifiable condition or not surely it must be disclosable for enlistment purposes. As I recall the two are really quite different. I really hope this is a wind-up!
 
#6
Firstly there are a lot more than 5 servicemen & I will leave it at that.

Secondly, its not policy to accept a recruit with HIV, however if they can make it thorough recruit training & get a P2 medical grading then once they reach their new unit they like anyone else can access local NHS services for confidential care.

However as past deployments has shown us the NHS recommends informing their employer when work conditions may affect their access to treatment. i.e. Iraq etc.

In these circumstances as already stated downgrade P7 HO.

As for HIV+ joining up, yes MoD is aware but what can they do to prevent it. ….Pre test maybe!

Pre HIV test who? …….just commonwealth recruits…..deemed non PC

Test all, ……….when……….. bear in mind there is a long incubation period

Test all regularly like in the US forces. Very cost prohibited, it works out cheaper to treat the odd new cases of HIV that crop up from time to time than screen all.
 
#7
Going slightly of the HIV side of things I pose a question. Other than medical personnel (police, fire service etc) how many service personnel are Hepatitis B vaccinated.

Answer very very few. This condition is 100% more infectious (blood, sputum, tears & urine carry infection) can make an individual very ill & in some circumstances even kill & is completely preventable by vaccination.

Areas of high hep B risk include any area of prolonged conflict.

From my own personal experience on more than one occasion I’ve had to practically hose down some lads who have been hand to hand & covered in blood. MoD policy seems to be vaccinate after the risk not before.
 
#8
Pox Dr, I agree absolutely with your comments about Hep B. All clinical personnel IIRC recieve this vaccine. If it is too expensive to vaccinate all pers and make it part of the Big Six, perhaps all personnel deployed recieve Gamma Globulin in lieu of Hep B prior to deployment, it is effective for about 6 months. This would cover the duty of care issue as an employer as well....win win.
 
#9
Jailorinummqasr said:
Pox Dr, I agree absolutely with your comments about Hep B. All clinical personnel IIRC recieve this vaccine. If it is too expensive to vaccinate all pers and make it part of the Big Six, perhaps all personnel deployed recieve Gamma Globulin in lieu of Hep B prior to deployment, it is effective for about 6 months. This would cover the duty of care issue as an employer as well....win win.
Seems a good short term solution..What are the chances of the Powers that be to act upon it? It's another worry we don't need at this point..but it does need to be addressed ASAP
 
#10
Bravo_Bravo said:
I recently overheard something that got my attention, namely that the MoD are aware of some hundeds of HIV positive personnel joing the Army.

Although their situation is known to the MoD their names cannot be released as it is a medical matter and so subject ( I'm assuming here ) to the Access to Medical Records legislation.

The MoD is an employer and as such has a duty to keep this information confidential.

The problem here is that HIV can be spread by blood, and lets face it, in the current operational climate there is rather more blood being split that any of us would like.

If you are giving BCD or first aid to somebody who is bleeding there is an obvious and real risk of infection. Sure, the BCDT leaflet tells you to wear protective gloves whenever dealing with casualties, but it seems to me that there should be considerably greater empahsis given to this eventuality than I currently see.

There is also the question of an employers' duty of care to employees who are *not* HIV positive.

Please note that this is not a homophobic issue AIUI.
Male or female?
 
#11
Testing should be mandatory prior to commencing recruit trg & I would suggest adding it to the CDT responsabilities or has CDT been 'binned' since the mid east kicked off?
 
#13
Like a lot of brits reaching their time I applied for the Australian Defence Force. HIV testing is compulsary for all applicants. I had to attach the results with my med records.
 
#14
Danny_Dever said:
Just as an aside, I worked with the US forces in Iraq last year and was tested for HIV as well as TB.
Anyone working & using US forces medical facilities are required to under go HIV testing, there rules not ours. I once asked a senior US MO the reasoning behind this & his answer was very simple, why should we inherit someone else’s problems.

Danny_Dever said:
..... all the Hep jabs (called twinrex or somthing like that).....
Good to see some look after thier own.

Twinrix is a combined Hep A & B vacinne. However its only any good if you complete the course. An example course is a rapid course which is given at:

Day 0 - Engerix B (Hep B Vac)
Day 7- Engerix B (Hep B Vac)
Day 21 - Twinrix (Hep A & B Vac)
Day 1year Twinrix (Hep A & B Vac)
 
#15
The ATRA has been looking closely at the issue of blood-bourne diseases for many years. Especially with wider recruiting policies such as from W Africa.
 
#16
HIV test will reveal if you have HIV or not after three months i.e. If you get a HIV test, it will only reveal it's magic if you contracted it three months or more before.

You're referring to the symptoms themselves i.e. Loss of immune system etc., which can take years to be revealed (should you not be treated).

Just for your gen.
 
#17
This issue is a concern for military health!

The question is why stop at HIV or even Hep A/B etc? When there is a resurgence of other bodily fluid transmittable diseases!

Squaddies are picking up weird and wonderfull STI's all over the show much like their civvie counterparts! The Clap from Poland and Genital Herpes from Kenya etc etc! Then expecting their mates to apply 1st aid measures when theyre bleeding all over the shop!

Bringing in routine checks/tests is a good idea though expensive! But it is cheaper then our collective wellbeing! If found with an STI CHARGE EM like the old days!

Condoms are FREELY available at any Med Centre! Just ask!

NB: Gloves are great but what about goggles? Eye protection is important! The amount of blood that can be sprayed around in traumatic incidents can be suprising! Even visors (though possibly im practical when on ops).
 
#18
Pox_Dr said:
Firstly there are a lot more than 5 servicemen & I will leave it at that.

Secondly, its not policy to accept a recruit with HIV, however if they can make it thorough recruit training & get a P2 medical grading then once they reach their new unit they like anyone else can access local NHS services for confidential care.

However as past deployments has shown us the NHS recommends informing their employer when work conditions may affect their access to treatment. i.e. Iraq etc.

In these circumstances as already stated downgrade P7 HO.

As for HIV+ joining up, yes MoD is aware but what can they do to prevent it. ….Pre test maybe!

Pre HIV test who? …….just commonwealth recruits…..deemed non PC

Test all, ……….when……….. bear in mind there is a long incubation period

Test all regularly like in the US forces. Very cost prohibited, it works out cheaper to treat the odd new cases of HIV that crop up from time to time than screen all.
Hmmm. sobering reading indeed.

Tell me, how many servicemen's penises have you had in your hand?

The male ones I mean.........not the females in the RLC.
 
#19
This is certainly an issue and one that ought to concern us. Some Corps, Cap badges and Trades have recruited almost exclusively from F&C soldiers in the last 4 years. Many of these soldiers are from Sub Saharan African countries. Conduct any Google search and look at the infection rates from amongst the under 30’s – between 20-25%, just the age group that we recruit from.

I am not suggesting that it is exclusively these countries that present a danger, but we are recruiting from age groups and from countries were it is prevalent, ergo we have a problem. The Forces conduct no pre-screening of any kind; it should, all recruits irrespective of where they come from should be screened for Blood Bourne Diseases.

The ATRA is presently conducting a non-attributable study to see the extent of the problem. The fact is these soldiers are often unaware that they are carrying the disease, it is often only found out as a result of unrelated treatment.

The result when they do find out is that they are categorised P7 CPND GEO (non deployable). So we now have an outwardly fit and able soldier who can not deploy for the rest of his career and due to medical in confidence the only person able to be told is the commanding officer. Try explaining that to your CSM.

Can we discharge that person simply for being HIV, or for the fact that he is non deployable? Many take the view that that would be discriminatory and subject to legal challenge if we did. These soldiers are often married, their wives have to be told and encouraged to have checks.

Furthermore these soldiers often sign off after their mandatory 4 years, apply for their SETO Visa, which gives them permanent leave to remain in the UK and continue to be treated on the NHS. As you may have gathered there are slightly more than 5!!!
 
#20
LeSAUSAGE said:
This issue is a concern for military health!

The question is why stop at HIV or even Hep A/B etc? When there is a resurgence of other bodily fluid transmittable diseases!

Squaddies are picking up weird and wonderfull STI's all over the show much like their civvie counterparts! The Clap from Poland and Genital Herpes from Kenya etc etc! Then expecting their mates to apply 1st aid measures when theyre bleeding all over the shop!

Bringing in routine checks/tests is a good idea though expensive! But it is cheaper then our collective wellbeing! If found with an STI CHARGE EM like the old days!

Condoms are FREELY available at any Med Centre! Just ask!

NB: Gloves are great but what about goggles? Eye protection is important! The amount of blood that can be sprayed around in traumatic incidents can be suprising! Even visors (though possibly im practical when on ops).
good ideas if you ask me :D
 

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