by Dan Even, Haaretz
The number of new HIV infections among homosexual men is increasing, according to Health Ministry figures.
There has been a 55% increase in HIV infections among homosexual men since 2005, though the pace of infection has moderated somewhat in the past few years. In 2011, there were 150 new HIV cases reported among homosexual men.
This is true throughout the West, not just in Israel.
According to statistics compiled by the Health Ministry’s sexual diseases clinic in south Tel Aviv (the Levinsky Clinic), the rate of HIV infection among homosexuals (2,603 per 100,000) is 4.5 times the rate of infection among heterosexuals (573 per 100,000).
The spike in HIV infections among homosexuals has led the Health Ministry to conduct periodic surveys of the sexual habits among homosexual men. In a survey of 2,000 homosexuals in 2010, 20% reported that they had had anal intercourse without using a condom in the past six months. This is a risk factor for contracting HIV.
Similarly, 25% of those surveyed reported using recreational drugs, which also increases the risk.
These results were similar to the previous survey that the ministry had conducted in 2005 among 2,569 homosexuals, in which a third of those with HIV (33.8 percent) reported having casual sex, which increases the risk of infection. Of these, 40.6 percent reported having anal sex with random partners.