HIV Screening

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th June 1991.

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Photo of Gavin Strang Gavin Strang , Edinburgh East 12:00 am, 18th June 1991

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the anonymised screening programme for HIV is being extended; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mrs Virginia Bottomley Mrs Virginia Bottomley Minister of State (Department of Health)

The first results of the anonymised HIV surveys have provided valuable information about the prevalence of HIV infection in England. The number of participating clinics will increase throughout England and Wales as the surveys continue.

Photo of Gavin Strang Gavin Strang , Edinburgh East

Will the Minister confirm that "anonymised" screening is truly anonymous, and that there is no way in which a positive result can be traced back to any individual? Does she agree that the programme will provide valuable information only if it covers a wide enough spread of the population and if that spread is maintained for a number of years?

Photo of Mrs Virginia Bottomley Mrs Virginia Bottomley Minister of State (Department of Health)

The screening survey has already proved its usefulness in allowing us to plan services and the development of preventive measures. I can confirm that the testing is entirely anonymous. It is essential that we have fact, not fantasy, on which to work in dealing with the spread of HIV and AIDS which are, after all, the most serious threat to public health this century. That is why we have made it clear from the outset that special resources should he directed deliberately towards research, prevention and services.