Police identify HIV+ sex workers

Medical tests conducted on dozens of prostitutes by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEEL) in the past two days have revealed that 12 of the sex workers are HIV positive, according to KEEL.

Following the publication of the photograph of a 22-year-old Russian sex worker on Sunday, the police on Tuesday uploaded photos of another 11 prostitutes working in Athens onto the website and appealed to those who have had sexual contact with them to contact authorities for health checks and treatment.

The 12 women are to face a prosecutor on Friday on charges of intentionally causing grievous bodily harm, a felony.

The publication of the women?s photographs has caused an outcry about personal privacy on social networking websites. But police spokesman Thanassis Kokkalakis said in a posting on his Twitter account that the photos had been published for the public good following a prosecutor?s order and that further approval from the Hellenic Data Protection Authority was not needed.

KEEL officials said the center had received over 1,000 calls since Monday from men who have had unprotected sex with the Russian prostitute or with other sex workers. More than half of these men are undergoing tests while three are already receiving antiretroviral drugs, according to KEEL.

Speaking to Kathimerini, KEEL?s director, Theodoros Papadimitriou, said that 96 sex workers had been tested and that 12 of these had tested positive for the HIV virus that leads to AIDS. He said most of those checked were Greek women, noting that most foreign sex workers had eluded police sweeps.

Last summer, Health Minister Andreas Loverdos had emphasized the risk of contracting HIV due to the flourishing illegal sex trade in central Athens. On Tuesday he warned that the problem had spread beyond the ?ghetto of illegal immigrants in Athens.? He said it was not only the sex workers to blame but the men who had indulged in unprotected sex, a service usually offered at a higher price.

HIV tests can be arranged by calling KEEL at 210.521.2054.