A new survey by the Israel Aids Task Force reveals that most HIV carriers in Israel choose to hide their medical condition from people in their lives.
There are about 8,000 carriers living in Israel, according to Health Ministry estimates. Out of all the carriers who took part in the survey, 86.2% said they had not disclosed their condition to colleagues at their workplace, 66.3% said they hadn’t even told any of their family members, 39.4% haven’t told close friends and 29.3% are hiding it completely and have not told anybody. Only 7.4% said they are fully open and honest about it.
41-year-old Sa’ar is one of the few people in Israel who chose to “come out” as HIV carriers to all their friends and family members, and he says he pays a price for his decision. “My sister once came up to me and said she was afraid to let me play with her baby daughter, my niece. That was really one of the most painful moments for me,” he says.
The stigma on HIV is so strong that even some doctors choose not to give treatment to HIV carriers, despite being fully aware of the fact that it is not contagious when treated with the proper precaution.
But those fears don’t seem to affect people’s decision to use contraception when having sexual intercourse, according to another survey. About half the people who took the survey admitted they do not use it regularly.