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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘HIV’

IDF Plans to Include HIV-Positive Soldiers in Future Drafts

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

The IDF plans soon to change its policy and begin drafting soldiers who are HIV-positive.

If and when that happens, young Israeli teens who until now were unable to join their peers in army uniforms due to their medical profiles will be channeled into non-combat positions.

Up to this point, HIV-positive individuals were automatically ruled unfit for service due to their medical condition. But if the proposed policy change is approved at the higher echelons, that will change.

“These recruits will undergo extra medical tests by a team of military and civil physicians prior to their draft,” Lt. Libby Weiss, head of the IDF North American media desk told JewishPress.com. “If all their examinations check out and they are completely healthy other than their HIV status, they will enter the military with a physical profile of 45.”

Weiss explained this will allow HIV-positive soldiers to serve in a variety of positions, “including technical support, intelligence and cyber warfare.”

Such recruits will be assigned to posts where medical personnel are kept informed of their status and maintain an active connection with their outside physicians. This is an exception to the norm, which mandates soldiers to restrict their medical care to military medical staff.

“In the case of the HIV-positive soldier, medical personnel on base will be in close contact with the outside treating physician,” said Weiss. “But in any case, only soldiers who are entirely in control of their condition would be accepted to serve.”

Over the past 10 years, the IDF has sometimes allowed HIV-positive individuals to volunteer when they insisted on enlisting, after lengthy interviews and examinations.

The move again places the IDF in a leadership role, Weiss said, pointing out that “Israel is the first nation to allow HIV-positive soldiers to serve” in its military.

“It is a very important step,” she said. “By accepting HIV-positive recruits into the army, we also reduce the social stigma around the virus that causes AIDS, and the stigma these people face in society.”

The new policy emerged from within the medical corps, which periodically reviews enlistment medical criteria. It now goes to IDF Chief Medical Officer Col. Dr. David “Dudu” Dagon, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon for approval before it can take effect.

“I don’t think we are talking about a long process,” Weiss said. “It won’t be within a week or two, but it also won’t take years, either.”

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Scientists Reach Breakthrough in HIV Research

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Israeli scientists have made a breakthrough in researching the HIV virus, Ben Gurion University of the Negev has announced.

Dr. Ran Taube of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics says that his team has found similarities between HIV and leukemia.

The study aims to wipe out AIDS, which is caused by the HIV virus, and also to slow down the development of leukemia as well. The study is aiming specifically at the rare mixed -lineage leukemia (MLL) that occurs mostly in children and hinders the development of cells in the blood.

Taube and his team worked in collaboration with Dr. Uri Rubio, of Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva.

The researchers said the discovery will lead to a “revolutionary diagnosis and the key to the clinical solution that will prevent infection with HIV and will destroy the deadly virus.”

Hana Levi Julian

Israel Hosts Global Conference to Promote Women’s Rights

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Hebrew University Stand With Us Campus Coordinator Lee-El Lewinsohn recently accompanied 25 students to the International Women’s Conference, which focused on women’s rights in Israel and promoting worldwide gender equality. Leading Israeli public figures, including politicians, activists, businesswomen, journalists, and religious leaders, spoke at the conference. Commenting on the conference, Lewinsohn noted, “Israel faces many challenges, and so do the women in Israel, but our strong pluralistic and democratic society has achieved many goals and is constantly in flux, changing, growing and improving.”

Participant countries of origin included Nepal, Cameroon, Nigeria, Kenya, and even the island of Nevis in the Caribbean. Shelisa Martin Clarke, a public health administrator who came from Nevis, said she learned “from the Israeli perspective” how to deal with domestic and gender based violence in her country. Sabina Deshemaru, a Nepalese student at the Hebrew University, noted, “I want to approach the Nepalese army and to see if there is a chance to replicate the idea of how Israel works with people who have post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Rilwan Raji, a Nigerian doctor, emphasized that Israel “is an inspiration” with regard to women’s rights, noting that he is consistently impressed by women serving in high level positions in the IDF, the Knesset, and Israel’s foreign service. “Basically, the most important thing is how women are integrated into the political system, for the more women are in politics, the better will be the plight of the girl child. For me, it’s unbelievable that Israel has so much to offer despite the conflict. It shows that the security situation is not an excuse for lack of development,” he said. He claimed that Nigeria frequently uses the existence of the Boko Haram Islamist terror group, which attacks schools, healthcare clinics and churches, as a pretext for lack of development.

Luchuo Engelbert Bain, a doctor from Cameroon, learned from the Stand With Us conference how to communicate pro-women’s health messages that emphasize that the “problems of women are the same the world over, even though the degree differs.” He also noted the importance of inspiring men to take an interest in promoting women’s rights. According to Bain, the information he gathered at the Stand With Us Conference will help him educate women about the dangers of HIV and the need to protect themselves against risks in Cameroon posed by arranged childhood marriages, forced marriages to deceased husbands’ brothers, and prostitution, all of which lead to the spread of HIV.

Visit United with Israel.

Rachel Avraham

Uganda to Circumcise 4.2 Million Men By 2015

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

The debate over the merits of circumcision, which seems to have stirred up a lot of talkback action on the Jewish Press website, may be taking a turn in yet another unexpected direction.

According to the website AllAfrica, the Government of Uganda is planning to circumcise 4.2 million men aged between 15 and 49 by 2015. This is because, according to the Government, this group is vulnerable to the HIV/ AIDS pandemic.

Speaking during a meeting on safe male circumcision and elimination of mother-to-child transmission (EMTCT) on Monday, the acting program manager of the country’s STD/AIDS control project, Dr. Joshua Musinguzi, said if the scale of circumcision is increased, it would reduce HIV infections.

He emphasized that circumcision is not the only form of prevention of HIV/AIDS, but part of a comprehensive package. Other means include abstinence, faithfulness and condom usage, dubbed the ABC approach.

“Circumcision is part of a major package that we are promoting in the country,” Musinguzi said.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Israel Prepares Africa For Mass Circumcision

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

A delegation of Israeli mohels (ritual circumcisors) returned from a two week trip to Africa last week, where they prepared a UN medical team for a mass African circumcision.


Over the next five years, an estimated 20 million African men will be circumcised by UNAIDS, the UN organization dedicated to reducing the spread of the AIDS virus, which is contagious through sexual and blood-to-blood contact.


Since 2007, Israeli volunteer physicians and nurses have been performing circumcisions in Swaziland and South Africa, as part of Operation Abraham. Operation Abraham is a program of the Jerusalem AIDS Project, operating in coordination with the Hadassah Medical Organization, which promotes conducting circumcisions in Africa as a way of curtailing the spread of disease.


On Monday night, the UN and the Obama administration announced the program, with the support of Operation Abraham.


A team of 40 Israeli surgeons and nurses is providing professional guidance on setting up clinics and performing adult and teenage circumcisions safely and effectively.


The program about to get underway in Africa is expected to prevent 3.4 million people from being infected by HIV, and save $16.5 billion in related funds.  Studies from 2006 proved that circumcision reduces the risk of male infection by HIV by 60 percent.


The State of Israel has experience with mass circumcision, having performed large numbers of youth and adult ritual circumcisions for waves of immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia.  Jewish ritual circumcision typically takes place on the eight day after the birth of a boy, but was either prevented or not practiced by many Jews from those countries.  Men of all backgrounds who convert to Judaism must also undergo circumcision.

Malkah Fleisher

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel-prepares-africa-for-mass-circumcision/2011/12/08/

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