asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) whether he has any plans to arrange for staff of his Department to be screened for antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus;(2) whether any current or former staff of his Department have been found to have developed AIDS or antibodies to HIV;(3) what steps he has taken to ensure that staff of his Department are warned about those homosexual and other activities which are deemed to involved a high risks of AIDS infection.
I shall let my hon. Friend have replies as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) whether his Department is aware of any reported case in Europe or the United States of America in which the AIDS virus has been transmitted from one sibling to another through non-sexual contact in young children; and if he will make a statement;(2) whether he is aware of any published paper which reports on the rate of occurrence of in which the AIDS virus has been transmitted from a young child to a parent through non-sexual contact; and if he will make a statement.
There is one published report of the putative transmission of HIV between two siblings in West Germany. In that case the authors speculated that a bite might have been responsible. There is a published report from the United States of America of a mother who is presumed to have become infected while nursing her child. The method of transmission was not known but the report noted the mother did not wear gloves while taking part in nursing procedures that involved direct contact with blood. To put these isolated case reports in context, it should be noted that studies of large numbers of close nonsexual contacts of AIDS cases and HIV carriers have not revealed casual transmission of the infection.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) whether he is aware of any published paper which reports on the rate of occurrence of cell-free AIDS virus in the saliva of AIDS-infected men in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement;(2) whether he is aware of any published electron micrographs which demonstrate the presence of the mature AIDS virus in saliva; and if he will make a statement.
We are unaware of any published papers on cell-free or cell-associated AIDS virus in the saliva of infected men in the United Kingdom.There is one publication in "Science 1984", volume 226, page 447, that showed an electron micrograph of mature AIDS virus obtained from the cultured saliva of a patient with AIDS-related complex. I am advised that with the methodology used in this study it would not be possible to determine if these viral particles were produced in vitro during the preparation of the specimen for electron microscopy, or were present in the native saliva. In any case, there is no evidence that saliva containing virus whether cell-free or cell-associated is capable of being infectious to humans.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement outlining the published data upon which his Department has based its conclusion that sharing the toothbrush of a person with AIDS can transmit the AIDS virus, but that kissing cannot.
There is no evidence to suggest that the sharing of a toothbrush has ever led to transfer of HIV infection. However, it is well known that toothbrushes can draw blood and it is possible that contaminated toothbrush fibres could directly innoculate the gums of another user. Recommendations against the sharing of toothbrushes were made because of this possible risk. The arguments against transfer of the AIDS virus during kissing are given in a letter from the Director of the Public Health Laboratory Service in the British Medical Journal on 14 February 1987, page 446.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what advice he has received concerning (a) the presence of HIV in African bed bugs and (b) its ability to survive drying for seven days at room termperature; arid what implications this advice has for the health education programme on AIDS.
Although last year a report demonstrated under laboratory conditions the presence of HIV in bedbugs one hour after a feed on blood virus mixture, I am advised that there is no epidemiological or entomological evidence at present that infection can be transmitted by this or any other insect. We therefore do not propose to alter the health education campaign.Regarding the question of the survival of the virus on drying, under highly arfificial laboratory conditions concentrated material prepared from viral cultures has been found to contain very small amounts of active virus after seven days. It is highly unlikely that a dose of virus from natural sources, and capable of being infectious, would survive in this way but nevertheless we recommend sterilisation for any implements that could be contaminated and which might transfer virus from one person into another. This advice is already part of our health education programme for the public and for health professionals.