HC Deb 08 June 1999 vol 332 c453
7. Mr. Peter Brooke (Cities of London and Westminster)

How he will ensure that health authorities use the HIV prevention special allocation in ways appropriate to the epidemiology of HIV. [85003]

The Secretary of State for Health (Mr. Frank Dobson)

The forthcoming guidance to health authorities on the use of HIV and AIDS special allocations will emphasise the need to match funding of prevention initiatives to the local situation and highlights the target groups identified in the current HIV health promotion strategy.

Mr. Brooke

Can the Secretary of State confirm that HIV-AIDS strategy will strengthen targeting work with the three communities that the all-party hearings last summer regarded as most at risk—first, gay and bisexual men, secondly, African people and, thirdly, injecting drug users—if that analysis was correct?

Mr. Dobson

I can confirm to the right hon. Gentleman that we want to target the effort and we want people in the national health service to target in particular those three groups that are most at risk. However, we do not want to concentrate all the effort exclusively on them because we need to ensure that groups that are near the boundary are also properly covered and protected. That is the way that we can stop AIDS spreading among groups of people who are not at present particularly susceptible.

Mr. Neil Gerrard (Walthamstow)

Given that there are about 2,500 new infections of HIV a year and that the Public Health Laboratory Service Board still states that HIV is the most important communicable disease in the country, as well as advising health authorities, will my right hon. Friend consider what can be done to strengthen monitoring systems so that we regularly get meaningful and consistent data on how each health authority is spending and using money to target those people who are most at risk?

Mr. Dobson

I do not know whether I am disclosing things that I should not disclose, but I have been spending considerable time with my officials to try to ensure that what my hon. Friend asks for is done.

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