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Cablegate: Hiv-Aids Patients in Poland

VZCZCXRO3506
RR RUEHKW
DE RUEHWR #2379 3511302
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171302Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY WARSAW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5645
INFO RUEHKW/AMCONSUL KRAKOW 1935
RUEAUSA/HHS WASHDC

UNCLAS WARSAW 002379

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SOCI TBIO PL
SUBJECT: HIV-AIDS PATIENTS IN POLAND


1. According to a panel of experts who met in Warsaw
November 29, 22 years after the first HIV cases were noted in
Poland, Poles continue to stigmatize and discriminate against
HIV positive persons. The panel, made up of Polish doctors,
nurses, and social workers from NGO's, met to mark World AIDS
Day on December 1.

2. The incident of HIV/AIDS in Poland has been stable over
the past decade. Official statistics show 550-650 cases of
HIV and 120-175 cases of AIDS diagnosed each year from 1995
to 2005, the last year for which government figures are
available. Since 1985, when the first cases of HIV were
detected in Poland, a total of 11,225 persons have tested HIV
positive, 2,013 have developed AIDS, and 900 have died.

3. While Poland has stabilized its incidence of HIV/AIDS,
the panelists were generally critical of Poles' attitudes
towards persons living with the disease. One speaker, a
well-know television journalist who had worked as a
correspondent in the U.S., contrasted the tolerant attitudes
towards AIDS Day assemblies he had observed in New York with
the hostility he believed such gatherings would attract in
Poland. Another panelist, an academic and sociologist who
works with HIV/AIDS patients, spoke of the level of
discrimination the patients faced in Poland. She claimed
that one third of the HIV/AIDS patients had experienced
discrimination from medical professionals, including being
refused dental treatment and hip surgery, solely because of
the fear of HIV infection. She also reported on several
cases of healthy children being refused entry to schools
because it was known that their mothers were HIV positive.

4. There was a consensus among the panelists, as one speaker
put it, "education, education, and more education" was the
tool to combat discrimination. One panelist, a physician
from the National AIDS Center, presented survey results
showing that most Polish school children do not receive
adequate education on the causes and risk factors of
HIV/AIDS. Several panelists suggested that the students'
inadequate training stemmed from the educational policies of
the recently-defeated administration of prime minister
Jaroslaw Kaczynski.
HILLAS

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