An expected change in IDF (Zahal) regulations will ensure that people with HIV can 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,” explains Col. MD MHA Moshe Pinkert, Head of the Medical Services Department.
Currently, individuals with HIV are immediately exempt from the army on a medical basis, yet they do have the opportunity to join the IDF (Zahal) on “volunteer status”. The expected shift in policy will make their conscription mandatory, similar to all Israelis who reach the age of 18. HIV positive soldiers still won’t be able to serve in combat positions, but a wide array of positions will be open for them. “The IDF (Zahal) and the Medical Corps are constantly trying to find new ways to make sure every soldier can have a meaningful service” said Col. Pinkert.
This recent push for change has been praised by members of the Israel Aids Task Force. “This process is a significant step towards shattering stereotypes about people with HIV,” said Yuval Livnat, CEO of the organization. “I’m happy that the IDF (Zahal) understands that HIV positive people can contribute in their military service just like anyone else.”