Health Ministry releases statistics on HIV/AIDS cases within Israel
An HIV-positive and tuberculosis patient lies on a stretcher at the Jose Gregorio Hernandez hospital in Caracas
(photo credit: MARCO BELLO/REUTERS)
Some 7,970 individuals registered with HIV/AIDS are currently living in Israel.
The Health Ministry released patient statistics on Monday detailing cases of HIV/AIDS reported in Israel between 1981 and 2019.According to the data, Israel has reported 10,430 new cases of HIV, some 1,740 of whom developed AIDS following HIV infections. Some 1,655 patients have died, and 805 have left the country.Some 7,970 individuals registered with HIV/AIDS are currently living in Israel.Aside from diagnosed cases, the ministry also uses tools to calculate the number of undiagnosed occurrences. It estimates that 9,294 cases of HIV/AIDS have gone undiagnosed, according to the ECDC Mathematical Modeling Tool it used.
In 2019 alone, just 388 cases were reported in Israel - 4.3 cases per 100,000 people - marking a decrease of 10.2% in comparison to 2018, observed across all major risk groups.To stymie the spread of HIV/AIDS amid the coronavirus pandemic, the ministry has been focusing its efforts and those of its partners on assisting populations of people who inject drugs (PWID), most of whom are experiencing homelessness."In light of a year with unprecedented challenges, the Department of Tuberculosis and AIDS (DTA) would like to thank all of our multi-sectoral partners, including the District Health Offices, the HIV clinics and labs, the TB clinics and labs, the Israel AIDS Task Force, and Yizhar National Needles and Syringe Exchange Program (NSP)," the ministry said in a statement.These labs, and programs such as Yizhar, provide needle exchanges, food assistance, shelters and social services for PWIDs through the use of volunteer street teams, even during this unprecedented health crisis, as many fear that it could exacerbate the spread of HIV/AIDS within the country."Reduced access to preventative services alongside other COVID-related risks, including decreased economic opportunities, more people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurities, increased emotional stressors and subsequent poor coping, have caused worry that the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to a rise in the number of HIV cases in the coming years, particularly among people who inject drugs (PWID)," the ministry said. "In light of the economic downturn, many PWID have turned to less expensive synthetic drugs, which were the source of an HIV outbreak in Israel among PWID in 2012-2013," it said. "In order to prevent this secondary outbreak, the NSP program, in coordination with the DTA, has proactively increased their activities in order to assist a high-risk, highly vulnerable population."NSP staff were declared essential staff at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, in light of these warnings.Within Israel, detailed numbers show that the majority of individuals diagnosed with HIV are males between the ages of 35-54. Age ranges such as 25-34 and 55-64, follow behind in comparison. As far as method of transmission goes, some 1,038 were PWIDs, 53 were blood recipients, 2,759 originated from a country with generalized HIV epidemic (OGE) and although it seems to be an outdated category, some 2,734 were determined to be men who have sex with men (MSM) - even though its one of the most widely used and listed categories of transmission throughout the past four years. Another 353 stem from heterosexual relations with partner from aforementioned categories, 1,171 from heterosexual relations with partners not listed in aforementioned categories, 225 were transmitted during birth from mother to child and 717 are listed as undetermined. PWIDs are most at risk for death.