HC Deb 14 July 1992 vol 211 cc674-5W
Mr. Paice

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements she is making to enable payments to be made under the special scheme for people infected with HIV as a result of national health service blood transfusion or tissue transfer.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

Parliamentary approval to this new expenditure, announced on 17 February, will be sought in a supplementary estimate for the Department of Health administration, miscellaneous health services and personal social services, England vote (class XIII vote 3). Pending that approval, expenditure estimated at £1.2 million will be met by repayable advances from the contingencies fund.

Mr. Bellingham

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the implications for Government policy of the recent case in Birmingham of the transmission of HIV infection.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

The Government recognise that HIV/AIDS is perhaps the greatest new public health challenge this century. The Government have consistently identified the threat of HIV/AIDS. This country is a recognised world leader in the action it has taken.

Between 1985–86 and 1992–93 the Government have allocated nearly £700 million to health and local authorities for the development of HIV-related services as well as over £73 million to developing a national AIDS public education campaign.

Establishing better sexual health—within which context the spread of HIV can best be minimised—is one of the five key target areas in the "Health of the Nation" White Paper. This reflects the importance the Government attach to combatting the spread of HIV.

The Birmingham case has highlighted the fact that heterosexuals cannnot ignore the risk of HIV. Past and present experience of sexually transmitted diseases indicates that the public health, and that of individuals, is best served if people at risk of infection and their sexual partners can come forward freely for confidential advice, testing and help.

The Government will take the issues raised by the Birmingham case, and other recent developments, carefully into account. These issues will be reflected in the current work of the ministerial AIDS action group which is due to report in the autumn.

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