The issues surrounding infectious diseases are emotive and complex.  This is particularly the case given that blood borne infections can be transmitted during body contact and collision sports. Fortunately, there are many practical and common sense steps clubs can take to reduce the risk of infectious disease transmission.

Information to help you understand the issue

  • Blood borne diseases include HIV and hepatitis B and C. 
  • Other infectious diseases include tinea (a fungal skin infection), chlamydia, gonorrhoea and scrumpox (bacterial infections), genital warts and herpes (viral infections) and scabies and pubic lice (parasites).
  • Although people can be exposed to infection by participating in sport, the risk of acquiring a blood borne virus is extremely low.
  • People with blood borne diseases may be gay or straight, married or single, very young (e.g., under 10) or middle aged.  
  • Not everyone with an infectious diseases knows they have one.

Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) have produced some simple guidelines to help players, coaches, officials, sports trainers and first aiders become blood aware. Clubs can be blood aware by adopting an infectious disease policy, providing information such as the pamphlet in the Blood Rules, OK kit to players, and maintaining a safe and clean environment for players and spectators alike.

In the light of HIV and other blood-borne viruses, attitudes to blood on the field or court have changed considerably in the past ten to twenty years. SMA have a Blood Rules booklet that has been written to help people understand blood-borne viruses and other infectious diseases, how they are transmitted and what actions can be taken to prevent their spread through participation in sport. To download the Booklet, simply go to the SMA website.