HC Deb 09 February 1998 vol 306 cc57-8W
Dr. Tonge

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for routine testing of pregnant women for HIV. [27248]

Ms Jowell

We are committed to reducing the number of children born with HIV infection. Our purpose is to ensure that women are fully informed of the benefits of having an HIV test for themselves and their babies and to encourage the uptake of named voluntary HIV antibody testing on all women attending for antenatal care who may be at increased risk. We recognise, however, that knowing one is infected with HIV raises difficult issues for the individual.

We have produced a leaflet to provide pregnant women with the necessary information to enable them to reach an informed decision about HIV testing. The leaflet will be piloted for acceptability and usefulness in the spring in a number of antenatal clinics.

Free confidential access to HIV testing remains available to anyone who feels they may have been at risk of infection.