Israel Marks International AIDS Day

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel joined with nations worldwide Monday, marking International Aids Day.

World Health Organization (WHO) statistics for 2007 showed 33 million people were registered carriers of the HIV virus, 2.7 million contracted aids last year, and some 2 million people died from the disease.

Since 1981, 1,100 Israelis have died from AIDS, out of the 5,300 cases recorded in 28 years.

According to the Israeli Health Ministry, 4,239 HIV carriers registered with the ministry in 2007, with an estimated 1,700 unregistered carriers in the country.

On Monday, ministry officials reminded the population that there is no charge for HIV testing, which can be done at most medical centers and AIDS treatment centers.

In response to a rise in the number of sexually active homosexual men contracting the disease, the Health Ministry plans to launch an advertising campaign in gay community papers and Web sites and dispense condoms in gay clubs and bars.

Health Ministry officials also plan to distribute fresh syringes to hard drug users to stem the spread of the disease from contaminated syringes and needles.

Israeli school children will be educated about AIDS in a program designed to prevent them from contracting the disease.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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