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HIV Infection

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 28 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his Department funds the use of oral mouth swabs to diagnose acquired immune deficiency syndrome. (250126)

UK Government funded programmes to halt and reverse the spread of HIV and AIDS in developing countries, cover prevention, voluntary counselling and testing, treatment and care. These funds are typically channelled through budget support at the country level to health programmes or as contributions to the core budgets or pooled funds of UN organisations. Information on disaggregated methods used to test for HIV is not therefore readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported that in 2007, 96 per cent. of the HIV antibody tests procured through its bulk procurement scheme were rapid tests, which involve a simple blood test taken from a pin prick. No information on uptake of oral tests is available, and WHO makes no recommendation as to their suitability for use.