(photo credit: REUTERS)
Since AIDS was first reported in 1981, a total of 7,990 new cases of HIV carriers and full-blown AIDS patients were diagnosed in Israel. Of these, 6,454 are still living in Israel, and 476 new cases were reported in 2013 -- a slight reduction of 10 patients compared to 2012. Newly diagnosed carriers thus constituted 58.5 patients per one million residents.
The statistics were issued Thursday by the Health Ministry, which is marking along with countries abroad World AIDS Day on Monday (December 1). A total of 35 million people around the globe live with AIDS, which has evolved from being an inevitably fatal infectious disorder to a preventable chronic disease. A little more than two million new cases were reported in 2013.
The Israeli rate is significantly lower than in Western Europe and North America, and far below the horrendous figures in the Third World, but their remain major gaps among various parts of the Israel population.
The Health Ministry focuses its resources on prevention and treating HIV patients with the cocktail of protease inhibitors supplied in the national health basket. It also promotes awareness of the disease in high-risk groups such as hard drug users, homosexuals and immigrants or other arrivals from countries with large numbers of AIDS patients and HIV carriers. It primarily acts through non-governmental organizations interested in the subject and in partnerships with other ministries.
In the past year, it launched a new community project for migrants lacking an official status who carry HIV. Although they lack health insurance, they are provided with with the cocktail. The ministry is also acting to reduce infection in the homosexual community, including teenagers.
To try to prevent the spread of HIV through infected syringes used by drug users, the ministry distributes clean needles free from four centers. A public information campaign for AIDS prevention uses the messages: “No condom, no thanks” and “Fighting AIDS; it’s also in your hands.”