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MS3: Update on Blood Transfusion Bans
#1
Madam Speaker,


Further to discussions with the Chief Medical Officer, I stand before this House today with an important update on HIV/AIDS prevention. Whilst I am still in discussions about general policies about stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS, the Government believes that there is something we can do now that will decrease the spread of HIV/AIDS.


It is believed that HIV/AIDS through sexual contact is primarily spread through homosexual activity, and the Government has already put in place a ban on men who have had sex with men from donating blood.


It is believed that many people may be living undiagnosed, and after talks with the Chief Medical Officer, the Government is placing a ban on anybody who has had a blood transfusion from donating blood.


Whilst much more effort is needed to find a cure to HIV/AIDS, and as Health Secretary, I will be doing my best to set a world example on HIV/AIDS prevention, we believe that this seemingly small step, has the potential to prevent infected blood from spreading further into the system, thus reducing the risk of further people being infected.


I would be more than happy to take any questions.
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#2
Madam Speaker,

I thank the Right Honourable Gentleman for his statement. HIV/AIDS has had a devastating impact on this country, particularly blighting the most vulnerable communities. Any government worth its salt would make tackling it a necessity, and this absolutely requires a comprehensive prevention strategy, not just bits of policy here and there. I hope the Right Honourable Gentleman is in agreement with me there.

I have one small question for the Right Honourable Gentleman, though, Madame Speaker. Are there timescales placed on this donee ban? Are those who have received blood transfusions before a specific period of time able to donate blood?
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#3
Madam Speaker,

As I have already said, this is part of wider plan to combat HIV/AIDS.

This ban will be for anybody who has had a blood transfusion since June 5th, 1980 - which is a year before the first documented case in the USA.
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#4
Madam Speaker

Protecting the supply of blood for transfusion is necessary and these steps will help in that aim. However, my Rt. Hon. Friend should also ensure that measures are put in place to assist those who are suffering from HIV/AIDS. The government must be both tough and compassionate in fighting this disease. I look forward to hearing more about the plans once they have been finalized.
---
Mrs. Margo Leadbetter
Home Secretary and Secretary of State for DEFRA
Conservative MP for Surbiton
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#5
Madam Speaker,

We will update the House on these matters.
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#6
I thank the Minister for his statement, the House shall now consider other business.
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