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Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which health trusts have consultants specialising in neurofibromatosis; and how many doctors are receiving training in this illness. [70727]

Jacqui Smith: Information on the services provided by local trusts, the skill mix of the staff they employ and the training they receive is not held centrally.

A range of doctors deal with this condition including consultants in ear, nose and throat, neurology, dermatology and clinical genetics. All doctors receive a general medical training but it is in their postgraduate years that consultants in the specialities mentioned above receive advanced training for conditions like neurofibromatosis.

Teenage Pregnancy

Gillian Merron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the value of peer education projects as part of the Government's Teenage Pregnancy Strategy. [70718]

Ms Blears: Peer education is recognised as having the potential to contribute to the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy by complementing classroom based Sex and Relationships Education (SRE). This is reflected in key SRE guidance documents (DfES, 2000; Ofsted, 2002). The Teenage Pregnancy Unit is working closely with the Department for Education and Skills to disseminate effective peer education approaches more widely.

The available research evidence concludes that peer education can be effective in increasing young people's knowledge, can have positive impact on attitudes, intentions and self-esteem and, in some instances, can change behaviour. Young people like peer approaches; involvement in programmes raises the self-esteem of peer educators; and peer education projects give young people control over their own health.

The Teenage Pregnancy Unit is funding a limited evaluation of a peer education programme called "A PAUSE" developed by Exeter University. The evaluation includes investigating the transferability of the

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programme to deprived areas and the potential to develop the programme for those at an increased risk of teenage pregnancy. The evaluation is due to report in March 2003.

The Teenage Pregnancy Unit has recently published "Involving Young People in Peer Education: A Guide to Establishing Sex and Relationships Peer Education Projects". This document aims to support those setting up SRE peer education projects and encourage good practice. Copies will be sent to every secondary school at the start of the new school year. The document will also be disseminated to local teenage pregnancy co-ordinators, National Healthy Schools co-ordinators and Initial Teacher Training providers.

The Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship framework provides pupils with opportunities to engage in peer related projects. There are no plans to include peer education within the national curriculum. The Department for Education and Skills is developing its PSHE website for teachers to include examples of where peer education programmes are working well.

Local teenage pregnancy partnership boards draw on a range of funding sources, including the Teenage Pregnancy Local Implementation Grant, to support projects which contribute to the local teenage pregnancy strategy. £16 million is available through the Local Implementation Grant during the current financial year. The level of funding planned for future years has not yet been decided.


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he (a) has had and (b) plans with the Ukrainian Government to offer advice on AIDS prevention and treatment schemes. [71045]

Clare Short: I have been asked to reply. My Department works closely with other donors involved in supporting the Ukrainian Government's HIV/AIDS prevention activities. We have funded a study on tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS for the World Bank office in Ukraine, which has been used to support the design of a $92 million loan for TB/AIDS treatment and prevention. We have also funded a study by the United Nations Development Programme on the cost-effectiveness of HIV prevention, also in support of the Ukrainian Government's national HIV/AIDS programme.

guidance of the Afghan Transitional Administration (ATA), will be used to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis, support the return of refugees to Afghanistan, develop a comprehensive analysis of and approach to vulnerability in Afghanistan, and support the transition of competence, ownership and technical capacity to the ATA to meet the immediate needs of its own people.

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In addition to the £60 million that my Department disbursed from September 2001 to March 2002 under our humanitarian programme, we pledged at the Tokyo conference in January 2002 to commit a further £200 million over the next five years. This amount is already being allocated and disbursed. We are fully committed to helping to meet the immediate priorities of the ATA and are encouraging other donors to do likewise by maximising their contributions and speeding up the disbursement of promised assistance.

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what recent representations he has received on (a) drug resistant disease and (b) HIV/AIDS; [70884]

Ms Blears: Since its widespread introduction in the mid-1990s, highly active antiretroviral therapy has improved the lifespan and quality of life for people with HIV and AIDS. This is reflected in the dramatic reduction in reported cases of AIDS and HIV-related deaths. There are concerns that this "treatment effect" is reaching a plateau and emerging drug resistance is an important limiting factor.

Two advisory non-departmental public bodies received presentations recently from the public health laboratory service's antiviral susceptibility reference unit—the expert advisory group on AIDS and the specialist advisory committee on antimicrobial resistance (SACAR). The presentations covered drug resistance in patients on treatment for HIV infection and in untreated individuals recently infected. SACAR, which advises Government on all issues relating to antimicrobial resistance, has prioritised antiviral resistance for its future work programme.

The pharmaceutical industry continues to have an active drug discovery programme for antiretroviral agents. New anti-HIV drugs are being developed, belonging both to the existing classes (reverse transcriptase inhibitors and protease inhibitors) but selected for their ability to work in the presence of resistant virus and novel classes such as fusion inhibitors and integrase inhibitors. Several promising new agents are undergoing clinical trials in the United Kingdom and abroad.

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the programmes that the Government are involved with in regard to HIV/AIDS research (a) at present and (b) in 2003; and if he will make a statement on the nature of the Government's involvement. [70843]

Ms Blears: The Government is involved in HIV/AIDS research programmes through the Medical Research Council (MRC), which is funded by the Department of Trade and Industry, through the other research councils, through the Department for International Development, through the Department of Health and through its executive non-departmental public bodies.

The MRC has a wide portfolio of research into the causes and treatment of HIV/AIDS, ranging from basic immunological studies to clinical trials of drugs and vaccines. Examples of the latter include a new phase of the world's first clinical trial to test a vaccine for one of the most prevalent HIV strains affecting Africa, and an international co-operation to develop effective vaginal

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microbicides for prevention of HIV transmission. The Department for International Development is supporting both of these, and is also supporting two HIV/AIDS knowledge programmes.

The Department of Health contributes to MRC-managed research on HIV/AIDS, through its policy research programme, mainly for epidemiological studies. In addition, the Department's health technology assessment and its new and emerging applications of technology programmes support relevant research.

These programmes are ongoing and are not likely to be substantially different in 2003 than at present.


Mr. Etherington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when his officials last met the MRC with regard to further research into the health effects of water fluoridation. [63952]

Ms Blears: Departmental officials last met the Medical Research Council regarding fluoridation on 14 May.

Mr. Etherington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to receive the MRC report with regard to further research into the health effects of water fluoridation. [63951]

Ms Blears: We expect to receive the report shortly.

Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to the question of 16 May from the hon. Member for Workington on fluoridation in West Cumbria. [69499]

Ms Blears: The Department has no record of receiving this correspondence. The Department's ministerial correspondence unit is seeking a copy of this correspondence.

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