Health Ministry: 6,140 Israelis have AIDS

International scientific conference on AIDS under way in Vienna with 25,000 participants.

An international scientific conference on AIDS is under way in Vienna, with 25,000 participants, including former US president Bill Clinton, who established a major fund for financing AIDS treatment and prevention in the developing world.
To mark the event, the Health Ministry said on Monday that 6,140 Israelis had been diagnosed as HIV carriers or as having fullblown AIDS. Of these, 3,907 were men, and most of them either were born in countries where AIDS is endemic or had had sex with other men.
Homosexuals are the majority of people infected, even though the virus is also spread heterosexually, said the ministry, which sent Dr.
Zohar Mor, head of its tuberculosis and AIDS department, to the conference to present findings from new Israeli studies.
One Internet-based study carried out by Mor’s department found that men who have sex with men who are their regular partners are not protected against infection if they are not monogamous. It also found that men who have sex with other men and do not use a condom are at especially high risk if they do so under the influence of “club drugs.”
The ministry’s Tel Aviv Levinsky Clinic for sexually infectious diseases found that the AIDS infection risk for male homosexuals is four times higher than that of heterosexuals who visit the clinic to be tested. The ministry spokeswoman said it tries to increase awareness of the disease by distributing educational material and condoms at gay clubs and offers free tests to people at high risk.