Greece arrests 17 HIV-positive women in brothels

May 2, 2012, 11:24 PM

Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece (AP) – Greek authorities announced the arrest Wednesday of 17 HIV-positive women who allegedly worked illegally as prostitutes, accusing them of intentionally causing serious bodily harm.

The names and photographs of 12 of the women were published on the Greek Police’s website, angering human rights advocates who said it was unclear whether the women were aware they had HIV.

“This is an appalling violation of human rights and medical confidentiality … an unprecedented action stigmatization,” Positive Voice, a group that helps people with HIV, said in a statement.

The arrests come amid a crackdown on hundreds of unlicensed brothels around Greece, which recently toughened AIDS testing laws for prostitution in response to a sharp rise in AIDS cases last year. Prostitution is legal in Greece, with regular health checks for sex workers required. But authorities say only a fraction of brothels are operating with a license.

Health Minister Andreas Loverdos warned of a rise in cases of customers having sex without a condom for an additional fee.

“This is an exploded bomb,” he said. “It is a problem that should have been limited but it now involves Greek society. It’s a problem that we cannot erase but only try to contain.”

The women were among 130 women screened for the AIDS virus by the state-run Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Hundreds more women are likely to be screened in the next few weeks.

The agency said it had received more than 1,500 calls from men inquiring about brothel safety and AIDS tests since the crackdown began over the weekend. It was unclear if anyone had been infected by the 17 women from Greece, Russia and Bulgaria who authorities said were arrested over the past four days.

According to the disease control center, 954 new HIV infections were reported in 2011, a 57 percent increase from the previous year. The spread of the virus between gay men remained the most common form of transmission, but the number of cases involving drug users increased 15-fold in 2011 to 241. Authorities say they are concerned about the overlap between drug use and illegal prostitution.

Greece will hold a general election Sunday, and Loverdos said he would call on the next government to criminalize unprotected sex at brothels.

“Let’s make this a crime. It’s not all the fault of the illegally procured woman, it’s 50 percent her fault and 50 percent that of the client, perhaps more because he is paying the money,” he said.

The Athens city government said at least 315 brothels are currently operating illegally in the Greek capital. The city renewed its call on the government to relax strict licensing rules.

Greece is the busiest transit point for illegal immigration in the European Union _ and for human traffickers bringing women from Eastern European countries.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

People search a collapsed building following an earthquake in Azmarin town, Idlib province, norther...
Associated Press

Death toll soars after powerful earthquake rocks Turkey and Syria

A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked wide swaths of Turkey and neighboring Syria on Monday, killing and injuring thousands of people.
2 days ago
FILE - A fuel trucks drives along a highway in Frankfurt, Germany, Jan. 27, 2023. European Union go...
Associated Press

Europe bans Russian diesel, other oil products over Ukraine

The new sanctions create uncertainty about prices as the 27-nation European Union finds new supplies of diesel from the U.S., Middle East and India.
3 days ago
(Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BoF VOICES)...
Associated Press

Vivienne Westwood, influential fashion maverick, dies at 81

Vivienne Westwood, an influential fashion maverick who played a key role in the punk movement, died Thursday at 81.
1 month ago
FILE - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during his first Cabinet meeting flanked by his ...
Associated Press

Rishi Sunak: UK’s ex-Treasury chief gets his shot at PM job

LONDON (AP) — Rishi Sunak ran for Britain’s top job and lost. Then he got another shot — and the chance to say “I told you so.” The former U.K. Treasury chief was runner-up to Liz Truss in the contest to replace the scandal-plagued Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and prime minister. But Truss […]
4 months ago
Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss addresses the media in Downing Street in London, Thursday, Oct. ...
Associated Press

Truss quits, but UK’s political and economic turmoil persist

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Liz Truss quit Thursday after a tumultuous and historically brief term marred by economic policies that roiled financial markets and a rebellion in her political party that obliterated her authority. After just 45 days in office, Truss became the third Conservative prime minister to be toppled in as many […]
4 months ago
People receive medical treatment at the scene of Russian shelling, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 1...
Associated Press

Russia unleashes biggest attacks in Ukraine in months

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia retaliated Monday for an attack on a critical bridge by unleashing its most widespread strikes against Ukraine in months, a lethal barrage that smashed civilian targets, knocked out power and water, shattered buildings and killed at least 14 people. Ukraine’s Emergency Service said nearly 100 people were wounded in the […]
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
Greece arrests 17 HIV-positive women in brothels