§ Mr. Frank Field
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government have taken since the publication in November 1989 of their response to the seventh report of the Select Committee on Social Services, Session 1988–89, to consider with the insurance industry the effect of asking proposers for life insurance whether they have ever had an HIV test.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
Since we published our response to the Select Committee report, officials have had a number of meetings with representatives of the Association of British Insurers (ABI,) to discuss the effect of HIV test questions on proposal forms for life insurance. I met Michael Pickard, the chairman of the Life Insurance Council of the ABI, and his colleagues on 12 November. We discussed the possible effects of the ABI's recommended procedures and the need to ensure that people were not dissuaded from coming forward for testing, help and advice about HIV infection. We have, jointly with the ABI, commissioned the British Market Research Bureau (BMRB) to carry out a survey of public perceptions of the effect of the questions. The BMRB is currently in the process of interviewing experts, advice workers, the general public and young adults. We expect to receive the results early in the new year, when further meetings with the ABI are planned.