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
“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.