With the assistance of highly respected experts in the field of HIV/AIDS, the NFL has developed a comprehensive policy that should decrease the spread of HIV and any other blood-borne pathogens among its players and medical staff. Transmission of HIV infection is likely to be rare in the NFL. This is supported by the fact that in over 10 yr of the AIDS epidemic, the CDC has not attributed one AIDS case to athletic competition. Whatever the rate of HIV infection, on-the-field transmission is certainly less frequent than hepatitis B, which is manyfold more transmissible than HIV. Based on these facts, a player with HIV infection poses virtually no threat to others or himself by further athletic participation in the NFL. In addition, the relatively short average playing career of an NFL player and the extended period between HIV contraction and development of AIDS symptoms decrease the prospect that a player's HIV-positive status would affect his athletic performance. Consequently, HIV testing should remain voluntary, and continued participation in the NFL of HIV-infected players should remain a private decision between the player and his physician.
(C)1994The American College of Sports Medicine