Knowledge and attitudes towards AIDS: A comparison between Arab and Jewish professionals living in Israel

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This paper investigates similarities and differences between Arab and Jewish professionals living in Israel regarding their knowledge and attitudes about AIDS. Although AIDS in Israel is not considered to be a pressing crisis, the aim of the research is to document and analyse what professionals in the helping professions - Arabs and Jews alike - know and how they feel about AIDS. The study also explores thoughts and feelings concerning AIDS-related education and training. This is the first scholarly attempt to compare Israeli and Arab professionals' attitudes and knowledge about such a stigmatised topic as the AIDS epidemic. The study sample consists of 350 professionals, including 218 Jews and 132 Arabs, working in various social and health-care agencies providing services to the Arab population. Professionals include social workers, nurses, occupational therapists, psychologists, and special education teachers and counsellors. Results indicate that Jewish professionals scored significantly higher on both knowledge and attitude scales than did their Arab counterparts. Two regression models predicting both knowledge and attitudes are presented, and their implications are discussed using several frameworks: the status of the disease, including perception of the threat; perception of adequacy of training; educational environment; and the socialisation process of Arab professionals in Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-339
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Social Welfare
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2002


  • AIDS
  • Attitudes
  • Cross-cultural perspective
  • Knowledge
  • Professionals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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