(photo credit: Associated Press)
Israel received a rare citation from the UN AIDS division this week, as its Web site recommended the world turn to the Jerusalem AIDS Project for direction in HIV prevention.
The article at the top of the UNAIDS: Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS homepage calls the JAIP method for providing HIV education "an advanced model" that is an example of "best practice."
"We always accuse the UN of being very much against Israel and finding only things wrong with this country," said the JAIP's Inon Schenker. "For us it was a very positive surprise that a UN agency... found it important to be researching the situation in Israel in the particular angle they chose and gave a [positive report] in a very visible way."
Schenker noted that in the past Israeli HIV/AIDS prevention experts like himself haven't been included in UN-affiliated events as much as those from other countries, and that it took the UN some 20 years to acknowledge Israel's work in the field.
The JAIP, as described on the UN site, was founded in 1986 and runs throughout the country instructing "simple and effective" HIV prevention messages to teachers, nurses and doctors.
The site also referred to JAIP's efforts to "reach out to all sectors of Israel's multi-cultural society," noting the country's various immigrant groups and religious institutions.
According to Schenker, some 60 percent of HIV-positive Israelis are immigrants, mostly from Ethiopia. He said about 6,000 Israelis are believed to have the disease, proportionately lower than more than two-thirds of Europe.
He said the board of his organization on Wednesday decided to launch a "Tikkun Olam" project in which Israeli AIDS prevention experts would travel to Africa to share their skills with communities suffering from the virus.