Eight Vietnamese policemen exposed to HIV during house search

Eight policemen in northern Vietnam were exposed to HIV while subduing a man infected with the virus during a house search last week, according to the Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control.

On June 6, police were searching the house of a woman known as Huyen, who was suspected of selling drugs in Hanoi’s neighbor Hung Yen Province, when her older brother Nguyen Van T. fiercely resisted them.

T., who was already infected with HIV in the advanced stages and had two convictions for drug trade, cut his wrist and rushed to the eight police officers with a knife.

The man caused the officers several scratches on their skin, which came into contact with his blood while they were trying to bring him under control and dressing his wound, said Hoang Dinh Canh, deputy director of the administration.

Canh said the policemen later took antiretroviral drugs – medications for the treatment of infection by retroviruses – as a post-exposure prevention which is expected to last 28 days, and will be given expert advice and psychotherapy if necessary.

The officers will receive a medical examination after three months, and are advised against donating blood and having sex during the intermission.

This is not the first time Vietnamese policemen have been exposed to HIV during the course of their duty.

A police officer once found himself in this situation and was eventually infected following ineffective post-exposure prevention.

By Duy Khang, Tuoi Tre News