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Israel Health & Medicine: HIV-AIDS Education

(Updated October 2006)

The Jerusalem AIDS Project (JAIP) is hailed by UNAIDS as an example of ‘best practice’ for its work in Israel on HIV education and prevention and HIV advocacy and training of professionals in the health and education sectors. JAIP, which was founded in 1986, is fully volunteer-based and is considered to be a pioneer NGO in this area.

JAIP has developed an advanced model for providing HIV education in schools, higher education establishments, and the military, as well as to migrants and young people who are not in school. JAIP trains “AIDS Educators” with simple and effective HIV prevention messages, which they can then communicate within the various settings using interactive sessions, discussion, and illustrative posters.

Since 1986, JAIP has grown to not only be a national program in Israel, but twenty-seven other countries around the world have also adopted its model.

About 6,000 Israelis are infected by HIV and on average, the virus infects one new person every day.

Ms. Hanni Oren, JAIP’s Chair and a community-nurse and health educator in Rehovot, is quoted in the UNAIDS article, “Through our training of teachers, nurses and doctors we are reaching out to young people with bold and straight forward messages on HIV prevention. Increased awareness on HIV prevention has contributed to the low incidence of HIV infection in Israel.”

JAIP’s work reaches all parts of Israel’s multi-cultural society, including the country’s various religious schools. Yael Elbaz, a pioneer in introducing HIV education to Israel’s religious schools, believes that it is imperative that religious students are taught about HIV so they will be better prepared for adulthood.

People who have participated in JAIP sessions report that the education they received has been invaluable.

Individuals infected by HIV often accompany JAIP volunteers to educational sessions to speak about their personal experiences living with the virus.

UNAIDS reports that Dr. Inon Schenker, Senior HIV Prevention Specialist and JAIP's Director of International Affairs, explained that “HIV prevention and care in a multi-cultural society, with many facets and sensitivities, is challenging. We have come a long way in mobilizing society to actively work towards HIV prevention. We have also helped develop key partnerships between government and civil society – keeping HIV on the national agenda.” Increased awareness about HIV in Israel has also helped break down HIV-related stigma and discrimination.

Sources: UNAIDS