Israeli Army to Allow HIV Positive Recruits

HIV-positive Israelis will be conscripted into the military for the first time, the army said today, a move welcomed by gay rights groups as an important step against discrimination.

The Israel Defense Forces will soon allow recruits with HIV to enlist, the military announced Tuesday, which is World AIDS Day. A post on the IDF blog titled #ReThinkHIV: New IDF Policy to Recruit Soldiers with HIV< said the expected change in regulations would allow individuals who are HIV-positive to “join the military just like any other soldier.”

“Medical advancement in the past few years has made it possible for them to serve in the army without risking themselves or their surroundings,” Colonel Moshe Pinkert, head of the IDF’s Medical Services Department, is quoted as saying in the blog post.

All Israeli Jews are required to serve in the military when they turn 18, with men’s mandatory service recently reduced from three years to 32 months and women’s service lasting two years. In the past, those who are HIV-positive were deemed unfit on a medical basis and automatically exempted from mandatory service, although they could sometimes still join as volunteers, on a case-by-case basis.

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