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Injecting 'Hagigat' may lead to HIV outbreak in TA
By BEN HARTMAN
01/14/2013
Police say the easy accessibility and high popularity of injecting the drug may lead to a wave of HIV infections.
 
Tel Aviv could face a wave of HIV infections in the near future, due to the high popularity of injecting “hagigat” among the city’s drug addict community, Tel Aviv District Commander Aharon Eksel said Sunday night.

During a meeting with crime reporters to.discuss a number of issues at the Lewinsky Park police station, Eksel said that the easy availability of the drug, sold in kiosks across Tel Aviv for as little as 25 shekels, has made it the preferred drug for non wealthy addicts in the area around the Tel Aviv New Central Bus Station who cannot afford more expensive doses of heroin.

Eksel said the addicts pour the powdered pills of Hagigat, which has an effect similar to strong amphetamines, into a bottle cap full of water and inject it, typically sharing the same bottle cap among several users. While Eksel said they often use their own needles, the sharing of the mixing caps has led to fears that Tel Aviv could see a spike in new HIV infections in the near future.

Eksel called on the government to supply more clean needles for addicts in south Tel Aviv, as well as drug testing, in order to stave off the problem, which he said could easily become a public health issue not connected to the criminal aspects of the issue.

“This is a problem contained to this community of drug addicts in south Tel Aviv for now, but it could very well spread out amongst the youth in Israel,” Eksel said Monday.

He added that the phenomenon of injecting hagigat has not been seen among the African migrant population, whose drug of choice is alcohol.
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