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HIV infection rates continued to drop in 2020 – Health Ministry

CM 04/08/2021

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HIV infection rates continued their downward trend in 2020, with 358 cases reported, a 5% decrease compared to 2019 when 379 cases were reported, according to a Health Ministry report released on Wednesday.
Some 71.5% of the new cases were men and 32% of the new cases were between the ages of 35 to 44.
Last month, Israel’s AIDS Task Force issued statements urging Israelis to follow safe sex practices, after they noticed a jump in positive HIV tests compared to previous months.
The task force stressed that many of those who tested positive stated that they had sex without a condom with a partner who claimed that he was on PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), a medicine used to prevent contracting HIV from sex or injection drug use. While official data on the reports is not yet available, a number of doctors have described similar cases.

PrEP only protects the person who takes it. The task force recommends that people not rely solely on partners’ claims concerning sexual safety, especially concerning casual partners or relationships not based on mutual or certain trust.
Some of those who were checked said that they take PrEP at specific events or before sex and not on a daily basis. The task force stressed that taking PrEP on demand is effective only if taken accurately. If taking PrEP on-demand, the task force recommends taking two PrEP pills at once, at least two hours before having sex. Protection should last up to 24 hours, as long as you take another pill 24 hours after taking the first two pills and then a third pill 24 hours after the second.
The task force emphasized that using PrEP on demand is not approved by Israel’s Health Ministry, which recommends taking PrEP daily in order to best prevent infection. The task force stressed that those having sex should wear condoms.
The task force stresses that HIV patients who responsibly take their medication and are undetectable have an almost zero percent chance of infecting others and that the more patients take their medication responsibly and the more people take PrEP, the more the public at large is protected.
Those interested in starting PrEP should consult their physician before starting and should not attempt to obtain the drug in another way. PrEP is part of the health basket in Israel, meaning that it is provided at a subsidized price by HMOs.
Those interested in getting tested for HIV can get tested at testing centers at the Israel AIDS Taskforce or the Levinsky Clinic in the Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv. You can also get tested at your HMO.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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