Israel marks international AIDS Day

In 2007, 4,239 people were carriers of the disease in Israel; Health Ministry: at least 1,700 unreported.

aids poster 298.88 (photo credit: Health Ministry)
aids poster 298.88
(photo credit: Health Ministry)
Israel on Monday marks World AIDS Day with countries the world over. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), 33 million people in the world were registered carriers of the HIV virus in 2007. During that year 2.7 million people contracted the AIDS virus and approximately 2 million died from it. Since 1981, more than 5,300 cases of HIV were discovered in Israel. According to the Health Ministry, during that time approximately 1,100 people have died from the disease. As of the end of 2007, 4,239 people were registered in the ministry as AIDS carriers, but the ministry estimates there are an additional 1,700 people carrying the virus who remain unregistered. The Health Ministry took the opportunity on Monday to remind Israelis that HIV tests can be conducted with no charge in medical centers and AIDS treatment centers. Israel is considered progressive among advanced nations with regards to the level of services and medications it offers to HIV carriers and AIDS patients as part of national health care. The ministry noted a rise in the number of men who contracted the disease following same-sex intimate relations. In response to this statistic, the ministry announced that it would launch a campaign to battle the disease within the gay, lesbian, and transgender communities. The campaign will include giving out prophylactics in clubs and gay bars, as well as advertising in gay community papers and Web forums. The Health Ministry further plans to establish a program to supply users of hard drugs with fresh syringes in order to prevent transmission of the virus caused by the reuse of contaminated syringes. The Education Ministry has also announced a program to combat AIDS. In the coming week, schools will devote hours to teaching pupils about the disease, including debasing popular myths regarding HIV through discussions and reviewing methods of diagnosis and ways of combating the disease.