TEL AVIV (Mar. 15)
A five-hour radio call-in program offering information about AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) reflected widespread and growing concern in Israel over the fatal disease.
Although most of the victims are homosexual or bi-sexual males, half of the more than 1,000 telephone calls to the radio station last week were from women, according to medical doctors who participated in the program. They wanted to know if they could contract AIDS from public toilets, from kissing or immersion in a public mikveh, the religious ritual baths.
They were assured that AIDS is not transmitted by touch but only by sexual intercourse or a transfusion of blood containing the AIDS virus.
12 FATALITIES REPORTED
Only 35 cases of AIDS have been diagnosed in Israel to date. There have been 12 fatalities. The purpose of the program, which followed a television documentary on the subject a week earlier, was to inform the public of the AIDS diagnostic centers that have been set up at a number of hospitals where blood tests are conducted anonymously.
One surprising aspect of the program, according to a commentator, was the medical opinion offered that infants adopted from Brazil should be tested for AIDS because of the prevalence of the disease in that country. The so-called “Brazil Babies” are sought by many Israeli couples because of the shortage of babies for adoption in Israel.
Meanwhile, a Tel Aviv district court issued a seven-day ban on meetings between a 12-year-old boy and his uncle who has AIDS. The ban was requested by the boy’s father. The AIDS victim is being cared for by his sister, the boy’s mother, at the home of his grandparents. The victim, not identified, was described as a well known Israeli fashion designer in his early 40’s who has been living openly as a homosexual in London, the U.S. and the Philippines where he discovered he had the disease three months ago. He was brought to Israel by his sister for treatment.