"We must understand in the clearest manner that silence has its price. When we fail to talk about a certain issue – it basically doesn't exist in our consciousness, and when it happens – the way to risky behavior is very short."
First Rabbinically Approved Safe Sex Anti-HIV Information Published In Israel
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Approximately 500 people in Israel were infected with HIV in 2012, Ynet reports, an increase from the number in 2011 which itself was an increase over the number in 2010.
About 150 of those infected in 2012 are reportedly homosexual men – a number of whom are Orthodox men who are not taught about sexual intercourse, contraceptives and the risks of unprotected sex in their schools and communities.
To try to remedy this problem, the Israel AIDS Task Force in conjunction with Havruta, an organization of Orthodox members of the LGBT community,
has just published the first rabbinically approved booklet on safe sex and HIV specifically for Orthodox communities.
"We must understand in the clearest manner that silence has its price. When we fail to talk about a certain issue – it basically doesn't exist in our consciousness, and when it happens – the way to risky behavior is very short," the booklet's introduction, reportedly written by a rabbi and approved by other rabbis, says.
"The information is conveyed in the booklet in a way adjusted to the religious public. In other words, there are no revealing photos and the language is relatively subtle, although it does show men walking hand in hand. The absence of a discourse does not prevent infection. In a place where sex is not discussed, safe sex is not discussed either, and men and women who come from a religious background are not immune to infection. We hope that this move will cause other systems in the religious public to break the circle of silence,” " Adir Yanko of the Israel AIDS Task Force said.
"It's time for the religious public, its leaders and rabbis to look reality in the eye and start talking about sexual relations between men and about the way to avoid diseases," Havruta’s chairman, Eli Kaplan-Wildmann, added.
The booklet will be distributed at some Orthodox centers and will be given to Orthodox rabbis to help them offer advice and provide information to Orthodox members of the LGBT community.