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Israel Health & Medicine: Statistics HIV/AIDS in the Middle East

(Updated May 2013)


In 2011, 428 Israelis (283 males; 145 females) were newly diagnosed with the HIV virus out of approximately 2.7 million new cases worldwide. Though this is a relatively small number compared to the global rate of infection, it represents the highest figure of new cases in Israel since at least 2000 when just over 300 new cases were reported. In 2010, 411 Israelis (278 males; 133 females) were newly diagnosed with HIV.

28 Israelis (20 males; 8 females) were also diagnosed with AIDS in 2011, the Jewish State's highest number since 2002 when 32 new cases of AIDS were reported.  In 2010, there were only 19 new cases of AIDS in Israel.

Israel's first documented case of HIV/AIDS was in 1981. Between 1981 and 2011, an approximate total of 7,000 new cases of both diseases have been diagnosed. The Israel Ministry of Health estimates at the end of the 2011 calendar year, that there were 5,658 HIV carriers and an additional 521 AIDS patients living in Israel. 855 citizens who were diagnosed with AIDS from 1981 to 2011 either died or left the country.

The rate of HIV/AIDS in Israel is 52.8 cases per million residents.

An Israeli HIV/AIDS registry has been in operation since the onset of the epidemic. HIV testing is systematic among blood donors, prisoners at entry, certain groups of immigrants from high-prevalence countries and among intravenous drug users before initiating detoxification programs. Testing, which is confidential and free to anyone requesting it, is available at Israeli health fund clinics and in AIDS centers at hospitals.

Arab World

In the Muslim countries of the Middle East and North Africa, overall numbers of reported HIV cases remained low, though there have been recent increases due to expanded HIV/AIDS testing efforts. With the exception of Sudan, most HIV infections in the region occurred in men and in urban areas.

In 2007, an estimated 55,000 new HIV infections occurred in the Middle East and North Africa and the number of people living with HIV in the region reached 530,000 by year end. 91% of the reported AIDS cases were adults; 8% were youth aged between 15 and 24 years, and 2% were children below 5 years of age. 29% of the cumulative total reported AIDS cases were female.

Estimated HIV prevalence among adults aged 15–49 years was 0.2% at the end of 2007, though prevalence varies widely between countries. Most countries reported low levels of the HIV/AIDS (i.e. <1% HIV prevalence in the general population and <5% in at-risk groups). These countries included Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

There were several factors reported that could increase the HIV infection rate in the Middle East and North Africa. Examples are the possible transmission of HIV from intravenous drug users into the wider population, an increase in unprotected extramarital sex, and limited sexual health education. In addition, HIV-related stigmas and discrimination remains an issue in the region and hinders AIDS awareness and prevention education.

Sources: Jerusalem Post; UNAIDS; World Health Organization (Israel)(MENA); Israel Central Bureau of Statistics