'Local HIV carriers rising, bucking world trends'

Israel AIDS Task Force notes that 70% of Israelis have never been tested for HIV, which raises fear numbers not accurate.

Taking blood for an HIV test 370 (R) (photo credit: Yannis Behrakis / Reuters)
Taking blood for an HIV test 370 (R)
(photo credit: Yannis Behrakis / Reuters)
Contrary to world trends, there is continual increase in HIV carriers, the Israel AIDS Task Force reported before World AIDS Day, which is marked every year on December 1.
However, the rate of new HIV carriers has been slowed due to increased prevention in many countries, including in the most affected countries in Africa, said task force chairman Yonatan Karni said.
“Despite all efforts, it seems that in 2012 as before, the numbers of new carriers continues to grow,” he added.
The worrisome statistics showed that in the last nine years, the number of new cases has risen – even though before that, there was a decline. In 2010, there were 430 new carriers reported. Data from the Central Bureau of Statistics that were made public showed there were 456 new cases – 303 men and 153 women – last year.
Between 1981 – when the AIDS virus was first officially identified – until the end of 2011, a total of 7,000 Israelis were diagnosed as HIV carriers.
Today, there are at least 5,658 carriers and AIDS patients living in Israel, with 178 of them children infected by their mothers through breastfeeding because they had not been identified in time.
Although the final 2012 figures have not been officially announced yet by the Health Ministry, Karni said he expected they would show another rise.
Karni noted that seven out of 10 Israelis have never been tested for HIV, which raises the fear that the official numbers do not reflect the true situation.
“We need significant investment by government decision makers to strengthen our activities so we can continue to inform, prevent the spread of HIV and support carriers,” Karni added.
The Health Ministry will on Friday officially make public its new epidemiologial report on AIDS. It said 7,032 Israelis have been diagnosed as HIV carriers or sick with full-blown AIDS since 1981. Of these, 1,401 died or left the country, leaving 5,631 actual patients today. But the ministry estimates that there are some 2,000 more who have not yet been tested, as this is not mandatory.
There were 454 new cases diagnosed in 2011, the ministry said. These represent 58 new cases per million residents.