CARLISLE, PA., AUG. 2 -- The Washington Redskins will offer their players a voluntary test for the AIDS virus, Coach Joe Gibbs said tonight.

Gibbs said team doctor Donald Knowlan was to speak to the players tonight at a team meeting about the disease. On Tuesday morning, players are required to take a urinalysis drug test, Gibbs said. At that time, they also may request to be tested for AIDS.

"Our message here is that we want to educate our players," Gibbs said at the team's Dickinson College training camp. "I do whatever our medical staff feels is prudent and smart . . . I think the players want it."

Gibbs said last week that if the Redskins gave an AIDS test, results would be kept confidential.

"If a player tests positive, from an educational standpoint I'm sure he would want to see a doctor," Gibbs said. "I think he also would want to know to protect his family and loved ones."

The Redskins apparently are the sixth National Football League team to offer an AIDS test. Last week, the Dallas Cowboys became the first NFL team to offer voluntary testing, followed by the Houston Oilers, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Raiders and Los Angeles Rams.

Last week, AIDS experts around the country denounced and questioned the decision to test NFL players for AIDS. "This type of stupidity is going to put us back into the Dark Ages as far as educating people," Dr. Peter Mansell of the Institute of Immunological Disorders in Houston told the Associated Press.

But Knowlan, who met with Gibbs this weekend to make a decision on AIDS testing, said: "It's a frightening disease. You have to deal with the fright, too."

Tonight, the Redskins held their first team meeting for veterans and rookies; 102 were there but two players were missing: defensive tackle Dave Butz and running back Keith Griffin, both of whom are holding out in contract disputes.

Linebacker Mel Kaufman, who is returning from a ruptured Achilles' tendon that forced him to miss all but two games last season, agreed to terms and reported to camp today.

His new contract is believed to be worth $275,000 this year, with many incentive clauses. Linebacker Rich Milot, who has been in the league two years longer than Kaufman, signed last week for what is believed to be worth $290,000 for this season.

Butz, at 37 the oldest non-quarterback in the league, has a history of missing minicamp and holding out a week or two from training camp during contract disputes. He apparently wants a two-year contract worth $525,000 this season and $650,000 in 1988. The Redskins are offering about $450,000 and $500,000.

The Redskins and Griffin, a trusted reserve running back and special teams player, are about $30,000 apart for this year's contract. Griffin is believed to be asking for $200,000; the Redskins want to pay him $170,000.

"I don't plan to make any more phone calls," said General Manager Bobby Beathard. "The decision {to agree} is on the shoulders of each player."

Butz and Griffin could not be reached for comment.

No one here is particularly surprised by Butz's holdout, but Griffin, a three-year veteran, is another story.

"That's a real surprise," Beathard said. Asked if Griffin can afford to miss practice time, Beathard said, "I wouldn't think so . . . But he's smart and always prepared, so I don't think the catching on will be hard for him."

Gibbs, who spoke to Butz and Griffin Saturday by phone, said the holdouts do not alter his positive feelings about the way training camp is going.

"I think we've done awful good to have {only} two out," he said. "I don't like to have two, but it's not like having five or six . . . If they've got a problem with their contract, I would rather have them stay out and get it resolved. I would not want them here in camp if they're not happy."

A change along the defensive line will add depth at defensive tackle until Butz arrives. Second-year defensive end Markus Koch has been practicing at defensive tackle and is projected to alternate between end and tackle this season, as veteran Tom Beasley did for the Redskins the last few years.

"That's a whole different ball game in there {at tackle}," Gibbs said. "We think he can play both and help us with depth on the line."

"He had all last year at end," said defensive line coach Torgy Torgeson. "Now we want to see what he can do inside."

"I want to feel good about both positions," Koch said.

Redskins Notes:

Albert Reese, a free-agent rookie tight end from Southern Methodist, suffered a hyperextended knee in the seven-on-seven drills in Saturday's scrimmage with New England and is expected to undergo an arthroscopic exam Tuesday . . . Defensive tackle Chris Spachman, a rookie free agent from Nebraska who had a sack in the scrimmage, suffered a sprained right shoulder . . . After looking at the videotape of the scrimmage, Gibbs said his team was "erratic."