AJWS is committed to ensuring that HIV-positive people throughout the developing world are able to access adequate medical care and treatment, and that effective prevention programs are initiated to reduce the rate of new infections. Jewish tradition is unequivocal on the value of human life, as it says in Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5: “For this reason, the first human being was created alone to teach that whoever destroys a single life is as though he had destroyed an entire universe, and whoever saves a single life it is as if he had saved an entire universe.”

Beyond prevention and clinical treatment programs, AJWS is also working to reduce stigma and fear, so that people living with HIV/AIDS are able to exercise their human rights and live with dignity. Jewish tradition recognizes this value of offering support to people who are ill, enshrining it in the Babylonian Talmud, where visiting the sick is included among a short list of ethical actions that are incumbent upon human beings in their efforts to emulate God.

AJWS Resources for Educators

The Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic
This comprehensive educational resource offers an account of the AIDS pandemic and Jewish responses to the current situation.

The Jewish Response to HIV/AIDS
This essay explores Jewish values and concepts that can serve as a framework to guide our response to HIV/AIDS.

Related Resources

Online A U.S.-based international AIDS advocacy, lobbying and educational organization that offers useful background information. The Health Global Access Project works mostly around issues like U.S. restrictions on funding, patents, and trade issues as they pertain to AIDS, aiming to bridge the gap in access to medication. The Treatment Access Campaign is a coalition of grassroots groups in South Africa and Zimbabwe fighting for access to medicine for all HIV/AIDS-affected people. The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States provides information on international sex education, AIDS and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The “HIV/AIDS News Service for Africa” offers up-to-date information on a range of topics. This useful resource tracks the spread of the pandemic in an interactive timeline.


Coming to Say Goodbye: Stories of AIDS in Africa, 30 min, Maryknoll Productions, 2002. This documentary about people living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya and Tanzania focuses particularly on AIDS orphans.

Pandemic: Facing AIDS, HBO, 2005. A five-part series focuses on individual stories of people living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda, Brazil, India, Russia and Thailand.

Lifecycles: A Story of AIDS in Malawi, 52 min, Human Scale Productions, 2003. This documentary explores how AIDS is affecting a wide range of people and communities in Malawi.

Everybody’s Child, 90 min, Media for Development Trust, 1996. This devastating narrative film, directed by Tsitsi Dangarembga, follows a group of siblings in Zimbabwe after their parents die of AIDS.

AIDS Warrior, PBS Wide Angle Series, 2003. This documentary focuses on the impact of conflict situations on AIDS, taking Angola as a case study.