Jerusalem Post (01.22.2014)
The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel’s Ministry of Health would begin paying for HIV treatment for 150 HIV-positive migrant workers at AIDS centers in the nation’s public hospitals, even though the migrants were not legal residents and did not pay health taxes. The decision came after a six-year campaign by activist organizations such as Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I).
Until now, HIV-positive migrant workers had to pay for expensive HIV testing and relied on volunteer doctors for treatment and care. However, many of the migrants were unable to obtain protease-inhibitor drugs; therefore, they posed a health threat to the local population. In the last two years, three migrants who received care at a Tel Aviv volunteer clinic died of AIDS, according to PHR-I.
Director General of the Ministry of Health Professor Ronni Gamzu issued a detailed directive to health officials, pharmaceutical companies, and clinics that established the framework for free testing, treatment, and follow-up for foreign HIV/AIDS patients. PHR-I and volunteer doctor and AIDS expert Professor Zvi Bentwich, who had treated Israeli and migrant HIV patients for years, praised the ministry’s “intensive activity” to find a solution.