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Volume 124: debated on Tuesday 8 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his Department has contingency plans to contain an epidemic of AIDS within the heterosexual population of Edinburgh in the next five years.

At present there is little evidence of infection among the heterosexual population in Edinburgh, apart from intravenous drug misusers. One of the objects of the Government's public education campaign is to persuade the public to take the necessary safeguards to avoid the spread of the infection. Nevertheless, an expert working party we set up in November last year under the general manager of Lothian Health Board (the Tayler working party), in assessing the likely scale of the AIDS problem in Scotland, estimated that a small number of the heterosexual population would contract AIDS by 1991. Any estimates of the numbers developing the disease have to be treated with extreme caution, but meantime health boards have been asked to plan on the basis of the Tayler report.