CARLISLE, PA., JULY 30 -- The Washington Redskins are considering testing their players for the AIDS virus, Coach Joe Gibbs said today.

On a day when four more National Football League teams announced AIDS testing plans, Gibbs said the Redskins have taken some precautions in their locker room and training room.

Gibbs said the team has instituted new safety regulations, including requiring the use of protective gloves by doctors and trainers who deal with "open wounds" and blood-related injuries. Players and team personnel also have been told to be more careful with the disposal of materials "that could carry AIDS," Gibbs said, and have been warned not to share things like razors, which was standard locker-room practice.

Meanwhile, AIDS experts around the country denounced and questioned the decision to test professional football players for AIDS.

"The likelihood of transmitting the virus through shared razors or bleeding on each other in a game is extraordinarily remote," said Dr. Henry Masur, deputy chief of critical care medicine at the clinical center of the National Institutes of Health. "I'm not aware that it has ever happened."

"Contracting AIDS {by playing football} is not as much of a risk as getting kicked in the head and dying," Dr. Peter Mansell of the Institute of Immunological Disorders in Houston told the Associated Press.

"I suggest they shut up and leave the business of health care to those qualified to do it . . . This type of stupidity is going to put us back into the Dark Ages as far as educating people."

The AIDS virus, which attacks the body's immune system, can be transmitted both through sexual intercourse and exchange of blood. More than 38,000 Americans have contracted AIDS since it was first recognized in 1981 and none has been known to be cured.

Gibbs said today, "As of right now, we haven't tested anybody for AIDS, but if, after going through it with the medical staff, they feel that's something we should do, then we're going to do it."

Team doctor Donald Knowlan said he plans to talk with Gibbs about testing this weekend at the team's Dickinson College training camp. He said he didn't know if the team would decide to test its players, but added: "I'd say this. Any patient who came to me and wanted to be tested for AIDS, I would go ahead and do it."

This week, the Dallas Cowboys became the first NFL team to offer voluntary AIDS testing. The Houston Oilers, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Raiders and Los Angeles Rams announced today they are testing their players.

"I'm not surprised at all," Gibbs said of the Cowboys' decision. "I think what you're trying to do there is protect yourself and protect your players. It seems to me that's smart . . . It's something that's obviously very serious. It's something you want to deal with and be smart when you do it."

Asked about the criticism from some members of the medical community about testing, he said, "I think medical people are someplace else. We're football guys and we're dealing with people who are bleeding."

Knowlan said he would "not argue" with national experts, but said: "It's a frightening disease. You have to deal with the fright, too."

This spring, three female hospital workers who were not in what are considered to be the high-risk groups to contract the AIDS virus tested positive for the virus when they came in contact with contaminated blood. Two were not wearing protective gloves and a third was splattered with blood, according to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta.

"Those were very rare situations," Masur said. "You're talking about a lot of blood there. In football, I think it would be very rare that people bleed that much, and the blood would have to be contaminated, of course."

"The risk for health-care workers is minimal," said Dr. John Ward, medical epidemiologist in the AIDS program at the CDC in Atlanta.

Transmission by blood seems to the greatest fear of AIDS in the NFL. According to several doctors, if blood from a player who was infected with the AIDS virus touched a break in the skin of another player, it's still very unlikely the virus would be transmitted.

"You would need very extensive contact for that to happen, and one player bleeding on another with an open wound does not sound like very extensive contact to me," Ward said. "Is it possible {to contract the AIDS virus that way}? Yes. Is it likely? No."

Several Redskins said today they favor AIDS testing, as long as confidentiality is assured.

"I thought the Redskins already were testing us with the blood samples they take during our physicals at minicamp," said offensive tackle Mark May. "It's a scary thing, and I'm definitely for testing. Look at pictures taken at games. Players have other people's blood all over their jerseys. For the safety of the players and the safety of their families, we should do it."

"I like the idea," said offensive guard R.C. Thielemann. "We're dealing with a locker room situation. People share things all the time, especially razors. It would have to be confidential between you and the doctor, of course, and it's a touchy issue, but I like the idea."

"I thought about this recently when I saw a fight on TV," said running back Keith Griffin. "I figured it would just be a matter of time before we'd get around to AIDS testing in football."

Gibbs said the Redskins have not yet made their decision on testing, which could be either mandatory or voluntary, because they still are studying the issues.

"We're just trying to do things that are smart," he said. "This is an ongoing drama, nightmare . . . We don't want to do anything that's irrational. We'll just take it a step at a time."

NFL spokesman Joe Browne said the league does not have a mandatory policy regarding AIDS testing.

"The team physicians discussed the AIDS issue at their annual meeting in June in Ohio," he said. "It was decided at that meeting that it would be handled on a team-by-team basis."