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Tuesday, 8 February 2005
Page: 225

Senator Bartlett asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 18 November 2004:

(1)   Is the Minister aware that a number of New Zealand service personnel have returned from duty in Iraq and been diagnosed as having contracted the HIV/AIDS virus while in Iraq.

(2)   Is the Minister aware of the health dangers posed to family and partners posed by service personnel who have contracted the AIDS virus but have not been tested or diagnosed.

(3)   Does the Australian Defence Force medically test all Australian service personnel who have returned from duty for the HIV/AIDS virus.

Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:

(1)   No, and this would be a matter for the New Zealand Minister for Defence to investigate.

(2)   Yes.

(3)   Yes. It is Australian Defence Force policy to screen all members returning from any operation for the HIV/AIDS virus three months after their return to Australia. Screening test results obtained before the end of the three-month sero-conversion ‘window’ may not be reliable.