Israel – Health Ministry agrees to free care for migrant HIV carriers, AIDS patients

hiv_newsAfter 6-year process, ministry invites non-legal residents who don’t pay health taxes, to treatment at AIDS centers in public hospitals.

Instead of leaving the treatment of some 150 migrants who are HIV carriers or have full-blow AIDS to voluntary groups scrounging for financial support, the Health Ministry has finally agreed to cover the costs of their medical care and medications.

After a six-year process, the ministry invited migrants, who are not legal residents and don’t pay health taxes, to go for treatment at the AIDS centers in the country’s public hospitals.

Until now, volunteer doctors in activist organizations such as Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) gave them medical care, but some of them had difficulty getting protease-inhibitor drugs, and their condition endangered the health of the local population. The migrants were required to pay thousands of shekels a year for tests, which many could not afford.

Ministry director-general Prof. Ronni Gamzu issued a long and detailed directive to health officials, heads of pharmaceutical companies and clinics about the change, which will make possible free testing, treatment and followup of the foreign HIV/AIDS patients. Three of those migrants who visited the volunteer clinic in Tel Aviv died in the last two years because, PHR-I said, they did not have full access to medical treatment and medications.

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