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Volume 124: debated on Monday 14 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what information is available to him on the proportion of patients attending sexually transmitted diseases clinics in the area covered by (a) the Yorkshire regional health authority and (b) the Pontefract district health authority, that have been tested, and have proved HIV positive.

I regret that this information is not available centrally. However, by 30 September 1987, a total of 218 HIV antibody positive reports had been received by the communicable diseases surveillance centre from the Yorkshire region. More detailed information of the kind requested may be available locally and the hon. Member may wish to contact the chairmen of the relevant health authorities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his estimate of the current doubling time of AIDS infections amongst heterosexuals.

Far too few cases have been reported so far for an estimate to be made of the doubling time in numbers with AIDS. To the end of November 1987, only 43 cases of AIDS thought to have been transmitted through heterosexual contact had been reported in the United Kingdom. Thirty four of these are thought to have acquired the infection overseas. There is no information on the doubling time of infection in heterosexuals at large, although the absolute level of infection in non drug misusing heterosexuals is thought to be very low indeed.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will print in the Official Report the text of advice in the light of the threat from AIDS, given by his Department to doctors and dentists exposed to large amounts of saliva in their professional work.

Guidance for surgeons, anaesthetists and dentists concerning HIV infection (AIDS Booklet 3) was sent out with a covering note (CMO(86)7) in April 1986.This states:

Salivary route. HTLV III has been isolated from saliva, although it has not been implicated in the transmission of infection for example following kissing. Nevertheless, in view of the theoretical possibility of transmission and because saliva may be contaminated with blood particularly during dental and other surgical procedures within the mouth, for practical purposes the transmission of HTLV III must be considered a possibility by those exposed to large amounts of saliva during their professional work.

Specific advice reads:

Protective clothing, including gowns and gloves must be worn by those dental personnel directly involved in dental procedures and in view of the aerosols containing blood and saliva that may be generated by low and high speed dental drills, ultrasonic scalers and irrigation/air syringes, the wearing of protective eyewear and masks is essential. High volume evacuation systems must be used and conventional scaling techniques are recommended.