Wollongong's police union representative has backed proposed government legislation that would see anyone who bites an emergency service worker undergo mandatory blood testing for blood-borne viruses.
The Police Association of New South Wales has been fighting for the legislation for years in the hope the testing brings peace of mind to frontline workers who are attacked while on duty.
Currently workers have to wait six months to see if they've contracted a blood-borne disease such as HIV, hepatitis B or C.
Under the proposed legislation, to be introduced to state Parliament next year, if a frontline worker is exposed to the risk of a virus through another person's deliberate act, a senior officer from their agency will determine whether that person should undergo testing.
The subject of a testing order would have 48 hours to appeal to the chief health officer.
Executive member for the southern region detective Jason Hogan said he knew of officers working in the Illawarra and South Coast who had to wait six months to know the results of testing.
"The not knowing affects them at home and the intimacy with their partner," he said.
"To be made aware of the outcome of the test sooner relives so much stress and anxiety."
PANSW president Tony King said the legislation passing would sends a strong message of deterrence and be a major relief to those officers who were adversely affected by violent and dangerous assaults.
"Legislation such as this is all about maximising the information available," he said.
Under the legislation, anyone who refused to comply with a testing order would face the prospect of a maximum of 12 months imprisonment and/or $11,000 fine.
In October, Keira MP and Labor's health spokesman Ryan Park announced similar legislation under NSW Labor's Respect Our Cops campaign, with leader Jodi McKay promising to introduce a bill to NSW Parliament "at the earliest possible opportunity".
Several medical groups oppose the legislation.
HIV organisation ACON spoke out, saying mandatory testing was ineffective in reducing risk or harm, and failed to stand up to medical scrutiny.
The Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine says there is no evidence that the testing would decrease attacks and argues the bill will increase the workers' worry by perpetuating myths about the transmission of blood-borne viruses.
"By mandating tests for HIV and viral hepatitis in instances where there is no risk of transmission, this legislation only serves to increase the worry of police and emergency services workers by misinforming them about how these viruses are transmitted," an ASHM spokesman said.
The union has previously said there have been no cases of HIV transmission to police on duty.