§ Mr. David Young
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when his Department was first aware that the acquired immune deficiency syndrome was a sexually communicable disease; and what action was then taken to seek to combat the dangers.
§ Mr. Hayhoe
[pursuant to his reply, 9 December 1985, c.494]The possibility that AIDS could be sexually transmitted was suggested following the first reports concerning the disease received from America in 1981. Following the isolation of the causative virus in America and France during 1983, it was confirmed that the condition was caused by an infection which was blood-borne and also sexually transmissible.
In 1982, the communicable disease surveillance centre set up a national surveillance scheme for AIDS cases in the United Kingdom. As medical knowledge of the disease has developed, a number of steps have been taken to control its spread. These measures were set out in my predecessor's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Dr. Mawhinney) on 20 February at columns 498–500 and in my right hon. Friend's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Chislehurst (Mr. Sims) on 2 December at columns 1–2.