Unlike many centers in Israel and abroad, in which children with HIV go to clinics for adults and children alike, our center is part of a normal pediatric clinic. The center operates in a child-friendly environment which offers many other medical specialists in various fields of pediatric medicine, available for consult according to arising needs. This array also includes pediatric dental specialists who examine the children and treat them as necessary - a team headed by Dr. Ravit Birenboim. In addition, the clinic has medical clowns ("clown doctors") who greatly assist with the treatment of the children - Dudi Barashi and Moshe Twito.
Our great efforts have the purpose of allowing the child to grow with physical and mental health, by treating every child and his family according to their individual needs. The children recieve the most innovative medical care, whilst performing the follow-up tests according to today's standards in the most updated medical literature. We put infinite efforts in order to promise great compliance to the treatments. For example, children go through lessons in "Pill school" from ages 4-5, which significantly increases the children's willingness to take the drug treatments. We also deal with psychological aspects of taking the medicine.
We emphasize promoting normal physical and mental development of the children and adolescents within the frameworks of their families and society, including unlimited participation in all of the normal activities of children. A unique protege program established by Mrs. Estelle Rubinstein called "big brothers", has med and social work students volunteer and go to these children's houses every week to help them with schoolwork, play with them and create a support system for them. Among the program's activities with the students, the children get Purim costumes, enjoy theater plays, museum visits and more.
In our center we have much experience in treatment of adolescents with HIV, including the gradual process of telling the child about his diagnosis as well as teaching sexual education. Our center initiates research and cooperates with other centers in Israel, to create research which some of has already been published in the medical literature and presented in conventions in Israel and abroad. In addition, we have trained, in years 2005-2010, doctors and nurses from Ethiopia who arrived in Israel for 3 week courses in which we taught the multi-disciplinary approach. We also travel to Ethiopia, Uganda and Russia to give further instruction to the AIDS clinics in these locations. The instruction does not only include the medical issues but also psychosocial issues, with an emphasis on puberty. In January, 2013, we taught a psychosocial course to staff members of orphanages in Ethiopia, and in May of 2013 we did the same in Russia. In addition, since 2005 Prof. Engelhard runs a volunteering program called "Art, Joy and Love" which he established. In this program, we, together with many other volunteers, travel to Ethiopia and Uganda to assist five orphanages for children with AIDS and HIV (sick children and carriers) in medical aspects and more.
AIDS has completely changed in the past few years, and from a terminal disease it has become to be a disease of asymptomatic carriers. The children and adolescents can stay healthy for many years, but during that time they have to recieve daily medical treatment and deal with many difficulties. Children with AIDS, as opposed to children with other chronic diseases, don't have a public support system, and our center is the only source of support for these children and their families. We do our best to make their lives and their families' lives as normal and happy as possible, so the children will grow up and mature properly, prepared for the adult world.