E: support@e-carehub.co.uk

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AIDS/HIV Policy

Policy Statement

{{org_field_name}} is committed to equality of opportunity and to eliminating discrimination in both its employment processes and service delivery. It is also committed to protecting and promoting the health of its employees and of people receiving care and their relatives and visitors.

{{org_field_name}} recognises that Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), is a health issue that has attracted widespread publicity, much of which is often misinformed. It is therefore necessary for people to be informed of the facts and where to turn for advice. To this end this policy has been developed for the benefit of both staff and people who use the services.

{{org_field_name}} will ensure that its policy challenges erroneous assumptions about AIDS/HIV infection and ensures that both its employees and people who suffer from AIDS/HIV infection are not discriminated against and are treated with dignity and fairness. Therefore, {{org_field_name}} will regard AIDS in the same way as any other serious illness.

Background to AIDS/HIV

AIDS is caused by a virus known as HIV which attacks the body’s natural defence system and leaves it vulnerable to infections and cancers. Not all individuals who become infected with HIV will necessarily develop AIDS but, at present, those who do develop AIDS will eventually die from their illness.

HIV infection is mainly transmitted by unprotected sexual intercourse with another person who has the virus. Other routes of infection occur only in certain high risk groups, eg drug users sharing infected needles or transmission from an infected mother to her baby. There is no evidence that the virus is transmitted by any other route. Normal social and employment contact with an infected person is safe for both employees and people who use the services as HIV is not spread through this kind of contact. Standard infection control procedures are necessary to prevent complications arising through procedures such as applying dressings or giving injections.

Implications of Equality Act

The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of disability.

{{org_field_name}} understands that, according to the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful to discriminate against disabled persons, including those with AIDS or HIV infection, in any area of employment. Furthermore, {{org_field_name}} understands that the law applies both to staff who are showing symptoms of their infection and those that do not. The Act protects people with progressive conditions against disability discrimination from the point at which symptoms have begun to have some adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Public Health Guidance

{{org_field_name}} complies fully with all applicable health and social care best practice guidance on managing the risk of HIV transmission from infected workers to patients. While this risk is very low overall, the guidance states that it relates predominantly to what are referred to as ‚Äúexposure prone procedures‚ÄĚ or EPPs.

EPPs are defined in the guidance as those invasive procedures where there is a risk that injury to the worker may result in exposure of the patient’s open tissues to the blood of the worker. These include procedures where the worker’s gloved hands may be in contact with sharp instruments, needle tips or sharp tissues (eg spicules of bone or teeth) inside a patient’s open body cavity, wound or confined anatomical space where the hands or fingertips may not be completely visible at all times.

In {{org_field_name}} no such exposure prone procedures are performed. However, the service is aware that it may have to provide support to people who are undergoing such procedures.

The organisation understands that, according to the guidance, all new health care workers employed or starting training (including students) in a clinical care setting, either for the first time or returning to work in the NHS should undergo standard health checks which will include being offered an HIV antibody test.

Staff who suspect that they may be infected with HIV must cease any exposure prone procedures and seek expert advice from a specialist occupational health practitioner about modifications or limitations to their work practices. Effective occupational health monitoring arrangements and patient notification arrangements must be in place.

Responsibilities of the Organisation Towards Staff

Responsibilities of Staff

All staff should be aware that it is a criminal offence to dispose of dangerous and potentially infected waste in such a way as to pose a risk to others. This includes clinical waste and potentially infected sharp items such as needles and scalpel blades.

People Who Use the Services

In {{org_field_name}}:

Needlestick Injuries Involving HIV

Any needlestick injury involving blood from a potentially HIV infected source should be dealt with according to the policy on needlestick injuries contained within the Disposal of Sharps Policy. In the event of an injury with a used or potentially contaminated needle, staff should:

There is a legal requirement under RIDDOR to report all occupationally-acquired needlestick injuries involving significant exposure to HIV positive material, to the Health and Safety Executive.

Confidentiality

Should the fact become known that an employee or receiver of services has the HIV virus then strict confidentiality will be maintained. Deliberate breaches of confidentiality will be made a disciplinary offence after normal consultative procedures.

Counselling

{{org_field_name}} recognises the important role of a counselling service for those who have AIDS or are antibody positive. For reasons of confidentiality and impartiality, {{org_field_name}} believes that this service should be provided by an external organisation. A co-ordinated approach to advice and counselling to those worried about HIV infection will however be developed between {{org_field_name}} and non-statutory organisations, social workers, GPs and other relevant workers or groups.

Training

In recognition that the fears and prejudices in relation to AIDS need to be addressed, a clear strategy of training and education must be developed including the production and presentation of material to help overcome negative reactions. This should be intended to overcome unfounded fears and prejudices, to promote good health and safety practices, to increase awareness of the necessary personal precautions and to promote awareness of the policy.

Infection control and AIDS/HIV should be included in the induction training for all new staff. All new clinical staff should be made aware of this protocol in their induction and all existing staff should be offered a regular refresher course in infection control and injection techniques.

Members of staff holding management posts will be expected to attend training courses on AIDS/HIV since they may be the first point of contact for those suffering from AIDS or HIV infection. In-house training sessions should be conducted annually and all relevant staff should attend. All staff should be made aware of the importance of the correct disposal of sharps and of clinical waste and of the part they play in the infection control process.


Responsible Person: {{org_field_registered_manager_first_name}} {{org_field_registered_manager_last_name}}

Reviewed on: {{last_update_date}}

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