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AIDS Ribbon.(Photo by: REUTERS)
Despite efforts, AIDS is on the rise in Israel
By YVETTE J. DEANE
11/30/2018
Since September of 2018, 90 more patients have been diagnosed.
AIDS patients admitted to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa doubled between the years of 2008 and 2017, according to a study published in honor International AIDS Day.

The majority of the 136 AIDS patients were immigrants from Ethiopia (37 percent) and the former Soviet Union (29 percent).

"Today, there are new drugs, groundbreaking treatments, comprehensive studies and completely new treatment concepts that make the disease chronic and treatable,” said Dr. Eduardo Shachar, director of the AIDS Institute at Rambam. ”But to our regret, there are groups in the population who operate out of complacency, shame or are unaware of treatment available. The message is clear and important – for your own health and the health of those around you, you must be checked.”

Since September of 2018, 90 more patients have been diagnosed.

The report also found that 60 of those patients were likely carriers of the disease, because they were unaware and not diagnosed until they were admitted to the hospital.

“On this World AIDS Day, we are reminded of the imperative of public education to assure early detection and treatment of HIV/AIDS,” Richard Hirschhaut, National Executive Director of American Friends of Rambam Medical Center.

This is part of a larger global trend, where more people are contracting HIV every year. Despite efforts to reduce the spread of the disease and virus numbers of HIV patients have increased dramatically over the past 10 years. This is largely because of the increase of the virus in countries with few resources.

Some19.6 million people were living with HIV in 2017 in East and Southern Africa, while only 22,000 people were living with HIV in the Middle East and North Africa.

In Ethopia in specific some 610,000 children and adults were living with HIV. While it is complicated to figure out all of those living with HIV in the former Soviet Union, in present day Russia, as of 2017, there were 1,000,000 people with the virus.

HIV or human immunodeficiency virus, is a virus that can lead to AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. HIV attacks the immune system and stops the body from fighting off infections. If HIV is not treated, and destroys too many cells hindering  the body from defending itself, it is likely this person will have AIDS. This leaves the body defenseless against other viruses. 

"They are not aware of the disease, are not treated, and are thus diagnosed during hospitalization after developing complications of immunodeficiency, having spent substantial time with medical uncertainty until getting the correct diagnosis," explained Shacher.

International AIDS Day is commemorated on December 1st.

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