Israeli Health Minister Ephraim Sneh said Thursday that the Health Ministry’s policy about blood donations from high-risk groups would continue in order to protect public health.
Sneh’s decision comes after news reports that blood donations from members of the Ethiopian immigrant community were automatically destroyed by the blood tanks banks for fear that it was contaminated with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
The reports caused an outrage among Ethiopian immigrants.
But Sneh said given the higher incidence of HIV in the Ethiopian community, the policy would stand.
Sneh said the rate of HIV among Ethiopians was 50 times higher than in he general population.
Adiso Masala, the head of an Ethiopian immigrants organization, said of the 60,000 Ethiopians in Israel, some 300 were infected with HIV.