2. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Haiti1

265172. Subject: AIDS Among Haitian Populations. Ref: Port Au Prince 5108.2

1. M/MED has contacted Dr. Drotman from CDC (Center for Disease Control). He has just returned from Haiti on an investigation on AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) among Haitians.

2. Medical surveillance on this rare disease is inadequate in Haiti, therefore, at this point no one can quantify the exact risk factor of this disease. In the U.S. there has been only 600 cases over the last two years. Dr. Drotman is not aware of a case of AIDS in a non Haitian living in Haiti.

3. There is no evidence that AIDS can be transmitted via food or water. It is not related to nutritional defects or related to poverty. In review of the cases of AIDS among Haitians it appears it is not particularly related to how recently they immigrated to the U.S. The hypothesis is that AIDS is transmitted through blood or blood products.

4. It appears that the U.S. population living in Haiti is at no particular risk. It would be prudent to avoid promiscuous sexual behavior, illegal IV drug use and to use blood or blood products only in a life saving situation.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, D820498–0189. Unclassified. Sent through MED Channel. Sent for information to Santo Domingo. Drafted by Washington and approved by Beahler.
  2. In telegram 5108 from Port Au Prince, September 15, the Embassy wrote, “Recent publicity given to occurrence Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) among Haitian population in US and at least two unexplained deaths of Haitians who have gone to US for medical treatment have caused some concern among US Mission personnel here. Would appreciate any facts and guidance M/MED could provide our personnel concerning AIDS and what, if any, precautions we should take.” (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, D820478–0613)