Ladies and Gentlemen,
I belong to the generation that witnessed the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic and the inevitable sentence of death it entailed for those contaminated. The fact that HIV has caused the death of over 30 million people since then, and that it has not spared many
celebrities, contributes to the disease’s unusually high and tragic visibility.
Although progress has been made combatting the epidemic and rates of new HIV infections have been cut significantly, the total of new infections still remains high – two and a half (2.5) million people in 2011. Seven million people are eligible for treatment but unfortunately still do not have access to it. So much work remains to be done: in new and better performing drugs, in information and education about the disease to reduce the stigma associated with it, in prevention and in expanding the incidence of treatments.
Israel, for its part, signed a multi-year cooperation agreement with UNAIDS in 2011. We hope this agreement enhances Israel’s contribution to the global efforts to eradicate AIDS.
Ladies and Gentlemen, HIV prevalence in Israel is characterized by a very low incidence rate among the general population. It is concentrated in several specific segments of the population, but is nevertheless on the agenda of many stakeholders, first and foremost the Ministry of Health. A range of activities are carried out by the Ministry in prevention and care, as well as in normalizing HIV in the mind of the general public. Specifically, twenty-nine (29) drugs are included in the National Basket of Health services and medications, meaning they are bought almost free of charge.
And so we come to the film we are about to see.Dan Wolman is one of Israel’s prominent film directors and Gila Almagor one of our most celebrated actresses of screen, television and theatre. We will follow the struggle of a mother to save her son and ease his pains caused by HIV.
We hope this screening, as well as other events which form part of World AIDS Day 2013, will go a long way in promoting the global fight against HIV.