INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Spanish Government Policy On Hiv/Aids at Home And

Published: Mon 8 Nov 2004 12:00 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 004290
SIPDIS
DEPARTMENT FOR S/GAC, OES/IHA, AND EUR/WE.
HHS FOR OS/OGHA/BUDASHEWITZ.
CDC FOR GLOBAL AIDS PROGRAM.
GENEVA FOR HEALTH ATTACHE.
DEPARTMENT ALSO PASS TO EST COLLECTIVE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SOCI KHIV SP
SUBJECT: SPANISH GOVERNMENT POLICY ON HIV/AIDS AT HOME AND
ABROAD
REF: MADRID 3835
1. Secretary of the Spanish National AIDS Plan Lourdes
Chamorro Ramos briefed ESTHOFF November 4 on her office's
domestic and international activities/priorities. Chamorro
Ramos, the highest ranking Spanish Government official
focusing solely on HIV/AIDS, indicated that her office has a
good handle on the nature of the HIV/AIDS problem in Spain
and is adequately funded to combat it. New HIV infection
rates continue to decline since their 1994 peak and Chamorro
Ramos does not believe a resurgence is likely.
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DOMESTIC PRIORITIES
-------------------
2. Reflecting the lack of "crisis," Chamorro Ramos said she
was currently focusing on three priorities: (A) whether to
target prevention activities on the infected vice general
population a la the U.S. practice; (B) how to balance the
infected population's right to privacy with the national
health system's need to disseminate information about
infected individuals; and, (C) how to convince all hospitals
to perform transplants on infected individuals (i.e.,
destroying the myth that such procedures can only be
conducted in specialized facilities).
3. Regarding prevention activities, Chamorro Ramos indicated
that she might be interested in sending some of her staff
members to the U.S. to study specialized prevention programs
that focus on infected individuals. ESTHOFF offered to
assist in brokering desired meetings/visits.
4. Regarding the right to privacy, Chamorro Ramos said that
the Spanish HIV/AIDS NGO community had mounted a successful
legal challenge to a 2001 draft law that attempted to achieve
a proper balance between privacy and dissemination. As a
result, her office was building on the failed law to draft a
new statute that would satisfy all stakeholders. The revised
text was currently in the consultation phase with the NGO
community.
5. Regarding transplants, Chamorro Ramos used the example of
liver transplants to illustrate the problem. She said that
there are 20 public hospitals in Spain that perform liver
transplants, but only 10 had so far agreed to perform such
transplants on individuals infected with the HIV virus. She
stressed, however, that the GOS was attempting to address
this problem via information campaigns vice Ministerial
coercion.
------------------------
INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES
------------------------
6. Chamorro Ramos openly acknowledged that Spain is not/not
a key player in international efforts (multilateral or
bilateral) to combat HIV/AIDS worldwide. Spain's most
significant activity is its 100 million euro donation to the
Global AIDS fund. This donation covers the 2003-6 period (25
million euros each year for four years). 50 million euros
has already been dispersed (covering 2003/4); the remaining
50 million will be provided in 25 million increments in 2005
and 2006. Spain has also donated 400,000 euros to UNAIDS and
1 million euros to the World Health Organization (which is
earmarked for distribution by the Pan-American Health
Organization to anti-AIDS programs in Latin America).
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COMMENT
-------
7. Chamorro Ramos is Spain's point person on HIV/AIDS both
at home and abroad (though she stressed her office does
not/not control the budgets of Spain's international HIV/AIDS
activities). While the nature of her position would of
course imply a strong defense of her office's domestic
activities, we believe she was not/not blowing smoke when she
described an adequately funded national health effort that
has a good handle on the HIV/AIDS problem in Spain. If
Chamorro Ramos can focus on privacy and transplant-related
issues, that suggests to us that the malady itself is under
control. Several NGOs do not agree and have publicly argued
that the government has consistently underestimated the
gravity of the HIV/AIDS situation in Spain. But this is
understandable. It is, after all, their raison d'etre.
However, the lack of general public controversy over HIV/AIDS
suggests that the GOS does have this problem well under
control.
ARGYROS
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