Israel’s Ministry of Health reports a 55% increase in HIV infections in the country among gay men over the past eight years.

Figures released show there are now an estimated 7,750 people living with HIV in Israel and over 1,200 of them are gay men.

The rate of infection among gay Israeli men is 4.5 times higher than for heterosexuals.

Israel’s Health Department blames the spike on the number of men having unprotected anal sex.

Haaretz reports the results were similar to the previous survey that the ministry had conducted in 2005 of 2,569 gay men, in which a third of those with HIV ‏reported having casual sex.

Of these, 40.6% reported having anal sex with random partners.

More than a third of those questioned said they had a regular partner, but of these, 52.6% reported that they used condoms irregularly or not at all.

The research in Israel comes as the Health Protection Agency for England and Wales said a fall in the number of gay and bisexual men using condoms over the past 20 years is responsible for a rise in HIV cases among the group.