About the Tel Aviv Health Bureau Levinsky Clinic
The Levinsky Clinic is a community clinic for STI’s and HIV, located in the new Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv and operated by the Tel Aviv Health Bureau. The clinic is open and accessible for all people based on the belief that each person has the right to health, respect and the choice to live his or her life as they wish. For thousands of men and women who have visited the clinic since its establishment, the clinic is known to be one of the few places in the country, where they can tell their intimate stories and receive medical care without revealing their identity.
To the general public and aid organizations, The Levinsky Clinic is known for its ongoing struggle against the effects of prostitution, and its significant contribution in shaping the field of treatment and rehabilitation of prostitution victims in Israel – Women, men, transgender women, minors, and stateless persons.
A close look at the work of the Levinsky Clinic shows that it has a broad agenda that draws from the public health and social work fields, beginning with the principles of human dignity and equality between the sexes, to acceptance and empowerment.
As a social medical service, the Levinsky Clinic strives to open the eyes of the public to the harm caused to those trapped in sexual and gender exploitation and distress, such as victims of prostitution, sexual assault or exclusion due to LGBTQophobia.
The clinic staff provides screening and treatment services similar to services provided in similar clinics in major cities around the world, and in accordance to the CDC organization guidelines, in accordance with the conditions in Israel.
These services include Tests and a medicine, counseling, guidance on subjects such as safe sex and sexually transmitted diseases. In some cases, when needed, a team of social workers will complete the medical treatment with additional care.
All services are anonymous and free of charge for everyone, regardless of age, sex, civil status or occupation.
The staff of the clinic is made up of speakers of different languages, diverse gender identities and sexual orientations. All the members of the team provide an attentive ear and professional care without any judgment, while maintaining full confidentiality.
When you visit the Levinsky Clinic, we will offer you all of the following services:
- Free and anonymous screening for HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, mycoplasma genitalium and syphilis. Those who have symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases are offered additional testing.
- Treatment of sexually transmitted diseases – If it is found that you have contracted an STD, you will receive free medical treatment in the clinic.
- Counseling and guidance about safe sex and sexually transmitted diseases.
- Counseling, guidance or complementary treatment of a social worker if necessary.
- Vaccines – Vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B and HPV can be provided.
All of these medical services are provided according to a doctor’s or consultant’s decision, and in accordance with the anamnesis.
In addition to reception of the general public at the clinic, the clinic staff runs various programs to promote safe and healthy sex among disadvantaged populations and risk groups, that find themselves excluded from health and welfare services. Special medical and psycho-educational activities are offered to youth at high risk, men and women in prostitution, persons with addiction to psychoactive drugs, homeless and stateless persons, the LGBTQ community and people living with HIV. These programs spread over six fields of action:
A mobile clinic for women and men in prostitution
The mobile clinic is the mobile wing of the Levinsky Clinic. The team aims to bring access to medical examinations, treatment and the provision of psychosocial treatment to women and men in prostitution. The team, which includes doctors, social workers, nurses and women who have been in prostitution and have been rehabilitated, acts on the belief that people in prostitution are worthy of respect, health care and rehabilitation. The team operates two main services: medical service and a psychosocial one.
- Medical service – The mobile clinic visits prostitution zones in the Gush Dan area and the center of Israel, allowing women and men in prostitution to get tested for STDs and HIV, and to receive treatment for STDs, anonymously and for free. In addition, the team provides primary medical assistance, information and advice on health and welfare issues, and distributes condoms.
- Psychosocial service – for those who are willing to recieve treatment, a skilled team of social workers provide psychosocial care. The treatment includes both the utilization of medical and social rights, and the healing of traumas caused by prostitution. The team is made up of professionals who are skilled in gender sensitive therapy, treatment of sexual trauma, and of addiction treatment.
The work of the mobile clinic staff does not end with providing medical and psychosocial treatment to people in prostitution. In order to ensure the future of those who are rescued from prostitution and to reduce the scope of the phenomenon, the team works together with professionals on the municipal and national levels, on issues of treatment and rehabilitation of people in prostitution. The team works to promote organized professional work that ensure the rights of those in prostitution, as well as to push forward the law that prohibits the consumption of prostitution and promotes the rehabilitation of victims.
LGBTQ and gender assessment
The LGBTQ team works to promote the health care and well-being of LGBTQ clinic patients, provide them access to preventive medicine, HIV screenings and psychosocial assistance to LGBTQ persons in prostitution, or at risk of sexual exploitation.
The psychosocial treatment of LGBTQ persons in prostitution at the Levinsky Clinic focuses on three topics:
- Treatment – Interpersonal intervention that deals with the trauma of prostitution, gender identity, the complexity of family relations, and mental aspects, mainly feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness.
- Utilization of medical and social rights – Special attention is given to the mediation between patients to entities such as National Insurance, the Monicipal Unit for the Homeless, family physicians in the community and the Gender Assessment Committee at Tel Hashomer Hospital.
- Guidance – Guidance about medical processes of gender assessment is given to Trans women in prostitution.
LGBTQ professionals in the clinic also take part in processes of policy change and change of public perception regarding the LGBTQ community. The aim of these processes is first of all to fight LGBTQphobia, and secondly, to assimilate good professional work with individuals and groups in the LGBTQ community.
Preventive education for high risk groups
Preventive information is directed at young people at risk and professionals working with them. This activity is made possible every year thanks to the support of the Department of Education and Health Promotion of the Ministry of Health.
In workshops addressing professionals, the instructors promote a healthy and open discourse on sex and sexuality, through expanding the perspective on sexuality, and developing an appropriate ability to discuss sexuality with patients. In the workshops addressing youth and young adults, the meetings deal with the stand points of the participants in relation to sexuality, as well as providing relevant information on: Different points of view regarding sex and STDs, information on safe sex and contraception, diagnosis and treatment, gender, sexual violence and pornography.
SAFE-SEX education for teenagers and young adults
These are informational sessions for youth in schools and for young adults within the framework of the IDF, in which information is given as well as the opportunity to review stand pionts, opinions, ask questions and share thoughts related to sex and sexuality from a personal, gender and social perspective.
The sessions, which last an hour and a half, are interactive and accompanied by a presentation and video clips. The materials deal with thoughts about having sexual relations, consent, pornography, STDs – prevention, infection and treatment. The sessions provide an opportunity to get to know various contraceptive methods, with an emphasis on condoms as the only means of protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
The sessions are provided by the Levinsky Clinic as a free service and the funding comes from the Ministry of Health as well as donations from commercial companies.
SAFE-SEX online services
The Levinsky Clinic in cooperation with and funded by the Department of Tuberculosis and AIDS in the Ministry of Health which runs the Safe-sex.co.il program. As part of the program, the clinic staff operates a website rich with information on sex, sexuality and STDs, the program also runs a counseling hot line and is answering various questions in different online forums, mainly for young people and young adults.
In order to reach the widest possible audience of young people, the clinic staff set up a Q & A area on the ASK PEOPLE website. The Levinsky Clinic site provides a professional response by a team of social workers and doctors answering questions ranging from healthy sexuality, birth control, gender identity to sexual abuse.
Work in the field of HIV / AIDS focuses mainly on the mediation between people in risk groups to medical and treatment services. The two main groups of focus in recent years are stateless people and young individuals at risk.
Do you want to know more about the Levinsky Clinic? We invite you to review our Annual Report of 2017.
Kind regards, the Levinsky Clinic staff.