About 10 new HIV carriers are diagnosed on average every week in Israel in recent years. It is reasonable to assume that there are many who do not know they are living with the virus, since only about 36% of the population in Israel has ever been tested for HIV. Ministry of Health figures show a significant rise in the number of new HIV infection cases among men and women who do not belong to at-risk groups.
Reliable knowledge and open discourse about sexuality are the basis for optimal sexuality. However, under the current circumstances the discourse about sexuality is unsatisfactory and insufficient. Surveys we conducted showed that about 50% the parents in Israel do not intend to talk to their children about sexual relations, while most adolescents indicated that they obtain most of the information about sex and sexuality from unauthorized sources such as websites and their peers. These information sources often foster irresponsible sexual habits (e.g. unprotected sex) and create erroneous attitudes about sexual relations.
The AIDS Task Force information workshops have been offered for about 25 years, providing important information about responsible sexual behavior to about 25,000 youth and educators in about 150 frameworks every year.
We are currently investing efforts to expand our workshop activities in order to reach as many young men and women as possible in Israel, to speak to them professionally and openly about sexual relations and sexual responsibility, with the understanding that the habits they develop at the outset will determine their sexual behavior and habits going forward.
In the information workshops we discuss the subject in a straightforward manner, in the aim of raising awareness to the importance of safe sex, preventing HIV infection and fighting the existing stigma about the disease and those living with the disease in Israel. We answer the pupils’ questions about sex, sexuality and sexual attraction, while underscoring the importance of consensual sexual relations and emotional maturity, and equality between the sexes regarding any decision about sexual relations. The workshop encourages the participants “not to keep things inside” when it comes to questions that concern them about sex and sexuality, and to consult with teachers, family members or relevant authorized entities.
Activities We Offer
The workshop deals with a variety of issues and contents related to sexuality: ways of infection and preventing contraction of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, sexual responsibility and equality between the sexes in sexual relationships, detailed information about HIV/AIDS, differences between an HIV carrier and an individual who contracted AIDS, and between HIV and AIDS, correct use of a condom, the importance of testing for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.
Personal story of an individual living with HIV
The participants will have a unique opportunity to meet an individual living with HIV, understand the ramifications of living with the virus and with the accompanying stigma, and have the opportunity to ask him questions that may arise after participating in the workshop and hearing the personal story. The encounter connects the pupils to the human aspect of living with the virus, helps accept people who are different and challenges the notion that “it won’t happen to me”.
Healthy sexuality workshop
The workshop aims to develop a healthy outlook toward sex and to provide adolescents with tools for healthy and optimal sexuality. This is the age when sexual relations begin to develop and occupy a central place in their life. The workshop exposes the participants to situations they may encounter during their life, and enables them to prepare themselves to deal with these situations in the present and in the future constructively and optimally. The workshop topic include: considerations for having sex; open verbal communication about sexual issues; gaps between porno and reality and possible ramifications of exposure to pornographic content; agreement, equality and mutual desire; myths about sexual relations; contraceptives, etc.
Workshop for educational teams and/or parents of adolescents
The workshop is an opportunity to discuss conflicts in the discourse with adolescents about sexuality, consider the question as to who is responsible for conducting the discourse and when, and to receive tools to conduct an open and enabling discourse.
About 50% the parents in Israel do not intend to talk to their children about sexual relations, while most adolescents indicated that they obtain most of the information about sex and sexuality from unauthorized sources such as websites and their peers.
The AIDS Task Force provides information materials (flyers, bookmarkers, posters, stickers, etc.) adapted for adolescents with abundant and straightforward information about the topics discussed in the workshops.
*The basic workshop and the personal story workshop can also be conducted in Arabic.
*When ordering the Healthy Sexuality workshop (offered only in a class format) it is possible to combine the workshop with a lecture in a format suitable for all or half the classes in the same age group. The lecture discusses HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, and includes a movie interspersed with personal stories of Israelis living with HIV.
*Since the AIDS Task Force is a non-profit organization, the prices are subsidized in order to cover the activity costs. VAT is not added to the price.
*There is a special subsidy for at-risk youth organizations and social services frameworks.
Idan Barak, Outreach and Workshop Coordinator, the AIDS Task Force
Office: 03-5613000 ext. 112, fax: 03-5611764