The government has challenged new research that warns that the
dispersal of asylum seekers could lead to increased transmission of
HIV, writes Amy Taylor.
The survey, which contains the views of 56 specialists in sexually
transmitted diseases, also finds that dispersal is often done
without the appropriate transfer of medical details and may
compromise HIV care.
A Home Office spokesperson said that there was no evidence that the
dispersal of asylum seekers has any effect on rates of HIV
The study, reported in the British Medical Journal and carried out
by a team of specialists in sexually transmitted diseases, involved
a questionnaire on the dispersal of HIV positive asylum seekers
being sent out to all the sexual health clinics in England that
treat HIV infected patients. It has responses from the lead doctors
in 56 out of the 75 centres.
Other findings state that 19 of the doctors covered had experienced
patients being dispersed away from their centre against medical
The Home Office spokesperson said medical considerations were taken
into account when assessing asylum seekers’ suitability for
dispersal and that asylum seekers with HIV or AIDS were only
dispersed to areas where suitable medical treatment was
He concluded that the Home Office were working with the Department
of Health to improve the dispersal process to “minimise any
disruption in health care provision.”