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AIDS patients treated at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa have doubled between 2008 and 2017, according to a study published in honor of International AIDS Day.
Most of the 136 AIDS patients were immigrants from Ethiopia (37 percent) and the former Soviet Union (29 percent).
"Today, there are new medicines, innovative treatments, comprehensive studies and the concept of truly new treatments that make this disease chronic and treatable," Dr. Eduardo Shachar, director of the AIDS Institute on Rambam. "But for our regrets, there are groups in the population that operate because of complacency, shame or ignorance of the treatments available. The message is clear and important – for your own health and the health of those around you, you must be examined."
Since September 2018, 90 other patients have been diagnosed.
The report also found that 60 of these patients were likely carriers of the disease, because they were unaware and not diagnosed until they were hospitalized.
"On this World AIDS Day, we are reminded of the importance of public education to ensure early detection and treatment of HIV / AIDS," Richard Hirschhaut, Executive Director of the National Friends of Rambam Medical Center.
This is part of a larger global trend, where more people are infected with HIV each year. Although efforts to reduce the spread of the disease and the number of viruses in HIV patients have increased dramatically over the past 10 years. This is largely due to an increase in viruses in countries with few resources.
About 19.6 million people live with HIV in 2017 in East and South Africa, while only 22,000 people live with HIV in the Middle East and North Africa.
In Ethiopia specifically, around 610,000 children and adults live with HIV. Although it is complicated to know all people living with HIV in the former Soviet Union, in Russia today, in 2017, there are 1,000,000 people with the virus.
HIV or human immunodeficiency virus, is a virus that can cause AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. HIV attacks the immune system and stops the body from fighting infection. If HIV is not treated, and destroys too many cells that prevent the body from defending itself, chances are this person will suffer from AIDS. This makes the body helpless against other viruses.
"They are not aware of this disease, are not treated, and are diagnosed while being hospitalized after developing complications of immunodeficiency, after spending a lot of time with medical uncertainty to get a correct diagnosis," Shacher explained.
International AIDS Day is celebrated on December 1.
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