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Volume 177: debated on Monday 23 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what further steps are being taken further to educate the general public about the risks of AIDS.

We are fully committed to taking effective action to prevent the spread of HIV in all sections of the United Kingdom population. In the absence of a vaccine against HIV infection or a cure for AIDS, public education remains the cornerstone in our strategy and we continue to spend more on AIDS health education than on any other single health education programme.The expert symposium convened by the United Kingdom Health Departments and the Health Education Authority on 24 November 1989 was successful in keeping this issue before the public and in providing a sound scientific basis for further campaign work at all levels about this serious threat to public health.The Health Education Authority has already launched an effective TV and press campaign building on the conclusions reached at the symposium. The HEA is developing further campaign material and has also launched a campaign to warn young holidaymakers about the risks of casual sex while away from home. Targeted work aimed at influencing the behaviour of specific groups will also continue including among those whose activities may place them at particular risks of HIV infection.To support this work we have encouraged health authorities to work with other statutory and voluntary agencies to develop local programmes for HIV prevention and have made new money available for this. We have also asked health authorities to appoint HIV prevention co-ordinators to spearhead this work and to pay particular attention to developing genito-urinary medicine and drug misuse services because of the crucial part both must play in HIV prevention.We are also committed to continued support for the national AIDS helpline which acts as a valuable resource in support of our public education work.We are determined to make further progress in the area of women and AIDS. This will be the theme of World AIDS Day 1990 on 1 December. Women have a central role in preventing the spread of HIV as health educators, carers and mothers.We will continue to give high priority to HIV prevention and to ensure that health authorities and the health professions bring this into the mainstream of their work.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what were the cumulative totals on 31 December 1987, 30 June 1988, 31 December 1988, 30 June 1989, 31 December 1989 and 30 June 1990 of (a) people who have died with AIDS, (b) people with AIDS including those who have died and (c) HIV antibody positive persons (i) in England by patient characteristic, (ii) in the United Kingdom by patient characteristic, (iii) in each of the regional health authority areas in England, (iv) in total in England and (v) in total in the United Kingdom.

Information is not available in the specific form requested and special analyses to obtain this could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The hon. Member might find it helpful to see the AIDS HIV quarterly surveillance tables produced by the public health laboratory service AIDS centre and communicable diseases Scotland unit. These contain detailed data on HIV and AIDS surveillance. Copies will be placed in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his assessment of the annual cost to the national health service arising from the treatment of a patient suffering from AIDS.

Spending on care for AIDS patients is not separately identified. This year, £127·5 million has been made available to health authorities in England as a contribution towards the costs of work to prevent the spread of HIV infection and the provision of diagnostic, treatment, care and support services for people infected with the virus, including those with AIDS.