§ 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. 
§ 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.1389W
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; 
(2) what progress has been made towards the discovery of new drugs to fight drug-resistant HIV/AIDS. 
§ 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. 
§ 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 1390W 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.