(Paris) As French doctors continue to run tests on Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat some medical authorities not connected directly to his case are suggesting that he may have HIV/AIDS.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath Monday said that all types of cancer had been ruled out.
Arafat has been visibly ill for more than two weeks. Last Wednesday he collapsed and briefly lost consciousness. Initial blood tests performed in the West Bank revealed a low blood platelet count. The Palestinian leader was airlifted to France where he is undergoing more tests.
But, with leukemia and other forms of cancer ruled out, the list of possible diseases is narrowing.
A low blood platelet count is a sign of a weakened immune system. In addition to cancer, the low count could be attributed to bleeding ulcers, colitis, liver disease, lupus, or HIV. It is believed that ulcers and colitis have already been ruled out.
Arafat has lost a considerable amount of body weight. Hopital d'Instruction des Armees de Percy, southwest of Paris, also has some of France's best HIV/AIDS doctors.
For several years there have been suggestions that Arafat was bisexual.
Ion Pacepa, who was deputy chief of Romanian foreign intelligence under the Ceaucescu regime and who defected to the West in 1978, says in his memoirs that the Romania government bugged Arafat and had recordings of the Arab leader in orgies with his body guards.
If the suggestions that Arafat has AIDS are true, it is doubtful it would be made public.