Data compiled by Israel’s National Center for HIV Testing reveals a sharp increase in the number of heterosexual individuals who contracted HIV in 2014, as well as a slight rise in the number of people who currently suffer from the disease compared to previous years.
According to the center, which released the information on Thursday, 488 individuals contracted HIV in 2014, up from 476 in 2013, with men making up about 70% of new carriers of the virus. One hundred and nine people who identified as heterosexual contracted HIV in 2014, compared to 62 in 2013 and 39 in 2011.
The data identified 42% of males who contracted the disease after engaging in homosexual relations, and about 15% who did so after heterosexual sex.
Some one-quarter (24%) of new carriers, male or female, were migrants, and a slight majority, 53%, were aged 25-44. Ten percent contracted the disease via the use of infected needles, and 7% of Israelis caught the sexually transmitted virus while traveling abroad.
“It has been several years in a row that the number of people infected with HIV in Israel is approaching 500, and the numbers are alarming,” a statement issued by the Israel AIDS Task Force said in response to the data.
“It is important to emphasize that HIV does not discriminate based on religion, race, gender or sexual orientation. Testing for HIV periodically and regularly using a condom when having sex with partners whose status regarding HIV is not known, are the most effective ways to prevent transmission of the virus and exposure to it.”