As of September 1, 2011, the test kits for all routine AIDS tests will be replaced with a new, more sensitive generation of kits. These integrated kits (also known as Combo), shorten the time between contracting the virus and the ability to detect it in blood tests. The new kits will be used in the routine AIDS blood tests, and it will become possible to administer them free of charge (as was the practice until now) at the AIDS centers and the HMO clinics (after identification and in keeping with all the medical confidentiality rules).
Furthermore, as of Thursday, September 1, 2011, the Ministry of Health will for the first time permit the performance of quick AIDS tests, enabling patients to receive the test result within minutes. In addition, the Ministry of Health will for the first time permit the performance of anonymous AIDS tests. Until now, the Ministry of Health has only permitted the performance of onymous (named) AIDS tests, where the patient received the results several days after the blood sample was taken. The new, quick method will enable extremely troubled patients, anxious to find out the results immediately, to get an almost immediate result. Wherever patients wish to take the test anonymously, they will be required to leave a telephone number through which they may be located if necessary.
It will be possible to perform anonymous tests and quick tests only at the AIDS centers and at special clinics. The tests will involve a fee, since both in Israel and worldwide, it is recommended that the Combo tests be preferred, whether onymously or anonymously, since this is the most reliable test, and identification enables ensuring that the carriers receive immediate, optimum treatment.
According to Ministry of Health estimates, there are some 7000 HIV-positive carriers in Israel today. Improvement of the screening system is intended to increase the number of AIDS tests administered to high-risk populations in an effort to detect the virus at the earliest stage possible. Early detection will reduce the circle of contagion and will lead to earlier monitoring and treatment of the HIV-positive patients.