The UNAIDS and World Health Organization (WHO) 2007 report on the status of the AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome) epidemic estimates that some 33.2 million people are currently living with the HIV (Human immune deficiency virus) virus.
In 2007 alone, over 2.5 million people were infected with HIV and 2.1 million died of AIDS.
The study was conducted ahead of the upcoming World AIDS Day, which will be marked on December 1st.
Between the years 1981-2006 authorities recorded 4,999 new cases of HIV in Israel; over that same period 1,059 people either passed away or left the country.
The number of HIV positive people currently residing in Israel was set at 3,940 in late 2006. Using a WHO-developed mathematical formula to factor in unreported cases and untested carriers, the figure climbs to 5,130.
Between the years 2002-2006 the average number of new cases stood at 330. In 2006 there were 336 new cases reported.
The infection rate in Israel stands at 47 cases for very million people – a far lower rate than most European countries.
The vast majority of HIV positive people in Israel – 43% - were infected while abroad, usually in countries suffering from a high infection rate. The other two groups most at risk for infection are homosexuals (16.9%) and drug addicts (14.5%).
AIDS Task Force: Unknown carriers responsible for new infections
"The 4,999 figure only takes into account people who have tested positive and been registered. We at the Israel AIDS Task Force (IATF) estimate that the real number people living with HIV/AIDS in Israel is twice that many," said IATF officials.
"There are a substantial number of carriers who are unaware of their condition because they have never been tested."
The IATF said it is likely that many of those who were recently infected had gotten the virus from unaware carriers.