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Aids

Volume 116: debated on Friday 15 May 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why heterosexuals are referred to as straight in his Department's advertising about AIDS; what evidence he has that this expression will be understood by heterosexual people; and if he will make a statement.

The word "straight" is a common form of expression in the context of the comparison between "gay" and "straight" when referring to homosexual and heterosexual relationships. We have tried to avoid the use of medical jargon in our advertising.The advertising campaign is being closely monitored. There is no indication that the term "straight" is misunderstood by the heterosexual target audience.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what additional resources he has allocated to voluntary organisations to enable them to educate the public about AIDS.

The funding provided to voluntary organisations concerned with public education in the AIDS field has increased from £125,000 in 1985–86 to £469,000 in 1986–87. This funding has mostly been given to support central administrative costs and telephone advice services. We are making available increased resources for the current financial year and we are now considering how these can best be allocated. My right hon. Friend announced on 5 May that the Government will be providing £500,000 over the next year to support the new National AIDS Trust which will co-ordinate voluntary effort on AIDS.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied that the AIDS leaflet distributed to households covers all known means of transmission of the AIDS virus; and if he will make a statement.

We are satisfied that, on the best advice available, the AIDS leaflet distributed to households covers all means of transmission of the AIDS virus relevant to the general public. It does not seek to cover more specialised risks of transmission which are of relevance only to particular occupations.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what guidance he has issued concerning precautions against AIDS in the catering industry.

None. However, the Department was consulted by the Food and Drink Association about the guidance that it has issued.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what representations he has received regarding proposals by the Lister Arthur Medical Centre to acquire premises in Leicester for use as an hotel for AIDS victims; and if he will make a statement;(2) what is his policy on the provision by private medical companies of hotel accommodation specifically allocated for the use of AIDS sufferers; arid if he will make a statement.

We received no representations about the proposals by the Lister Arthur medical centre. It is for private companies to decide what accommodation they offer and for what purposes, but registration and inspection would be required if such accommodation constituted a residential care or nursing home.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what information his Department has received in the context of the anti-AIDS campaign about the relative safety of the gun method and the use of disposable needles for injections; what guidance he has issued on this matter; and what representations he has received about the use of the gun method.

[pursuant to his reply, 23 February 1987, c. 118]: On the recommendation of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which advises the Department on all aspects of immunisation, the Chief Medical Officer wrote to all doctors on 12 September 1986 discouraging the use of jet injectors for immunisation. These instruments had been used mainly to administer influenza vaccinations. The advice did not apply to self-injection of insulin or low-dose heparin, nor to the multiple puncture apparatus (or Heaf gun) used for tuberculin testing. One hon. Member has written to my right hon. Friend about the Heaf gun.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in future publicity about AIDS, he will emphasise that condoms are available free at family planning clinics.

[pursuant to his reply, 17 March 1987, c.477]: Condoms are available without charge through family planning clinics for contraceptive purposes. We have noted the hon. Member's suggestion.