§ Caroline Flint
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what plans he has to assist companies to prevent discrimination against persons with HIV or AIDS in the workplace. 
§ Mr. Alan Howarth
We announced on 1 October a three part strategy to secure comprehensive, enforceable civil rights for disabled people. This involves the178W establishment of a Disability Rights Commission (DRC), a Disability Rights Task Force to undertake a wide review on how to implement such civil rights and the implementation of the remaining rights of access to goods, facilities and services under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA).
The Task Force met for the first time on 16 December. One of its first jobs in the New Year will be to consider the role and functions of the DRC. We intend to establish a Commission which serves the needs of disabled people and in so doing will work supportively with business.
The Task Force will also consider a wide range of issues concerning comprehensive civil rights and is likely to wish to consider the position of people with HIV or AIDS in the workplace.
At the moment, the DDA protects disabled people—including people with AIDS or HIV infection which affects normal day to day activities—against discrimination by employers with 20 or more employees. We are currently reviewing the position of small employers excluded from the DDA. A booklet "What employers need to know" is available to assist employers in relation to their duties under the DDA and there is also a Code of Practice containing practical guidance for employers. We are considering what other information might usefully be made available to employers.
The Department of Health set up the National Aids Trust (NAT) in 1987, as a fully independent charity. The employers' initiative run by the NAT provides a statement of employment principles for HIV and AIDS and is aimed at assisting employers in the effective management of HIV and AIDS in the workplace, including preventing discrimination against people with HIV and AIDS.