HC Deb 22 April 1999 vol 329 cc645-7W
Dr. Strang

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the anonymised programme of HIV surveillance in England and Wales, setting out for each survey currently in operation or planned(a) the location, (b) the targeted populations, (c) the clinical reasons for initial collection of specimens, (d) the number of specimen collection venues, (e) the annual specimen numbers, (f) the most recent prevalence data, (g) whether the consent of those tested was sought for entry into the survey and (h) whether those tested were informed that they were to be entered into the survey. [80695]

Ms Jowell

The Unlinked Anonymous monitoring programme monitors the prevalence of HIV infection in accessible groups of the population and is a unique source of unbiased prevalence data. An important aspect of the programme is that it estimates prevalent infections among groups in whom substantial proportions of infections remain undiagnosed and therefore unreported through other surveillance systems.

The data collected in the unlinked anonymised programme of HIV surveillance in England and Wales are published every year so that they can be used by those planning services or health promotion. Copies of the latest

Unlinked anonymous seroprevalence monitoring programme: populations under surveillance and programme surveys
Population under surveillance Programme surveys1 Clinical reason for collection of specimen Location
Behaviourally vulnerable
Homosexual and bisexual men Genitourinary medicine clinic attenders Syphilis serology National
Heterosexual men and women with greater than average sexual partner change Genitourinary medicine clinic attenders Syphilis serology National
Injecting drug users Treatment and support agencies for injecting drug users2 Voluntary collection of saliva. This survey also detects evidence of current and prior-infection with hepatitis B National
At lower or general risk
Pregnant women Infant dried blood spot Guthrie cards for metabolic screening National
Antenatal Rubella serology London
Termination of pregnancy Blood grouping London
Adults aged 16 to 49 years Patients treated in hospital Blood counts London
1In addition, a voluntary unlinked anonymous HIV survey of prisoners (using saliva specimens) was piloted in 1993 and undertaken in 1997.
2 The genitourinary medicine clinic survey also provides prevalence data for injecting drug users.

annual report "Prevalence of HIV in England and Wales 1997", annual report of the Unlinked Anonymous Prevalence Monitoring Programme and the summary report are available in the Library. Prevalence of HIV in England and Wales 1997, a summary of data to the end of 1997, is also available on the Department's internet site. These publications provide full information on the surveys which were carried out in 215 centres in 1997 throughout England and Wales. The tables summarise the main data requested on location, targeted populations, clinical reason for initial sample collection, number of specimen collection venues, annual specimen number and prevalence data.

With regard to obtaining consent for entry into the survey and informing patients about the surveys, posters and leaflets about the surveys are available in 15 different languages for participating centres to display and thus inform patients that their sample may be used in these surveys. These materials explain the aims of the UA surveys and that the programme is designed to ensure that the samples are anonymised before being tested and thus the results cannot be traced back to individuals. They also refer patients to healthcare workers for further information and explain that they can ask to exclude their samples from the surveys if they so wish, and that their wishes will be respected.

Prevalence of HIV-1 infection in the survey groups, 1997
London England and Wales outside London
Survey Number tested Number HIV-1 infected Prevalence range Per cent. Number tested Number HIV-1 infected Prevalence range(%)1 Prevalence ratio London vs elsewhere2
Genitourinary medicine clinic attenders:
Homo/bisexual 4,344 392 9.0 4.9–15 1,523 58 3.8 0–8.0 2.4
Heterosexual 13,504 108 0.8 0.43–1.4 16,821 21 0.12 0–0.29 6.4
Injecting drug users attending agencies3 406 16 3.9 1,605 6 0.37 0–1.3 10.5
Hospital blood counts (sentinel group) 14,490 102 0.70 0.15–1.3
Genitourinary medicine clinic attenders:
Heterosexual 18,230 128 0.7 0.39–1.1 15,647 16 0.10 0–0.23 6.9
Injecting drug users attending agencies3 131 2 1.5 489 2 0.41 4 3.7
Pregnant women at delivery (infant dried blood sports)5 103,981 195 0.19 0–0.51 348,442 56 0.02 0–0.10 11.7
Pregnant women seeking terminations 7,298 40 0.55 0–0.78 ——
Hospital blood counts (sentinel group) 27,059 73 0.27 0.040–0.44
1The range within a category is the lowest and highest prevalence recorded in individual clinics (genitourinary medicine survey), regions (injecting drug users survey), districts (infant dried blood spot survey) or hospitals (termination of pregnancy, antenatal and hospital surveys).
2 The ratio by which the prevalence of infection in London is greater than the prevalence in England and Wales outside London.
3Attending specialist centres for injecting drug users.
4Range 0–7.1 per cent. region with highest prevalence had only 14 samples from women.
5 In Northern and Yorkshire region data for pregnant women come from the antenatal survey.