To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what information he has as to the incidence of anonymous testing of patients for the human immunodeficiency virus without their consent.
The Department does not have information about all the research that may be taking place, but I am advised by the Medical Research Council and the public health laboratory service that none of the studies currently being funded by them involves the anonymous testing of patients without their consent.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what guidance is given to hospital authorities on the testing of patients for the human immuno-deficiency virus without their consent.
The Department has not issued specific guidance to health authorities on the need for HIV antibody tests to be carried out only with the consent of the patient. However, we have always stressed that tests should be carried out only on a voluntary basis and in a context of pre-test and post-test counselling. The precise details of how, and in what circumstances, tests are discussed with patients is primarily a matter for the individual professionals guided by their professional bodies, and the health authorities concerned.