A new poll conducted in the new EU nation of Romania has found high levels of prejudice against homosexuals and people living with HIV.

The research, by Gallup, was conducted in July for the National Council for Combatting Discrimination.

Romania and Bulgaria were the most recent additions to the EU; they joined in January 2007.

68% of Romanians in the poll thought homosexuality is a ‘bad choice’ and 36% think punitive measures should be taken against gays, from fines to jail.

Nearly half of the 1,200 respondents said they would not want contact with someone living with HIV or AIDS. Two thirds said they would be uncomfortable with a gay neighbour.

30% think children with AIDS should be segregated in school.

Romania was one of the last European countries to decriminalise homosexuality, in 1996, and a further law banning “manifestations of homosexuality” was finally repealed in 2001.

In 2002 the age of consent was equalised at 15.

In December 2006 an EU funded poll found that just 11% of Romanians approved of same-sex marriage.