A new report presented to Israel’s Health Ministry shows a significant rise in the number of HIV infections among gay men in the country, Israeli news portal Ynet News reports (ynetnews.com, 6/24).

According to the report, the number of gay men diagnosed with HIV has risen by 80 percent in the last year, from 77 new cases in 2007 to 140 in 2008. Gay men represent about a third of people living with HIV. The report also showed that many positive people contracted the virus before the age of 25.

The Health Ministry reports that many people are only tested after the virus has progressed to AIDS.

“This is a vital matter, which requires both the Health Ministry and the gay community's attention,” said Dr. Gideon Hirsch, CEO of the Israeli AIDS Task Force.