§ 57. Mr. Strang
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his policy towards the establishment of needle exchange schemes to reduce the spread of HIV among injecting drug misusers.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
We issued guidance to health authorities in September 1988 on establishing syringe exchange schemes. We estimate that there are currently some 120 schemes in England and schemes are now starting in Wales. Selected schemes continue to be monitored. Overall, our aim is to determine their effectiveness in changing drug misusers' behaviour away from practices which carry a risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV infection.