Middle East and North Africa AIDS Fact Sheet 2006
- In 2005, there were an estimated
440,000 people living with HIV in the Middle East and North Africa.
- Around 64,000 people were newly
infected with HIV and AIDS killed around 37,000 adults and children in
- Only 5% of the estimated 75,000
people needing antiretroviral therapy in the Middle East and North Africa were receiving it by the end of
- National adult HIV prevalence
did not exceed 0.1% in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa
(except for in Sudan). However, available data
show that the epidemics are growing in several countries including
Republic of Iran, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, and Morocco.
UNAIDS 2006 Report on global AIDS
- Out of the 440,000 people living
with HIV in the region, an estimated 350,000 were in Sudan, where national HIV
prevalence was at 1.6% at the end of 2005.
- Sudan’s epidemic is most severe in
the country’s southern areas (which are flanked by countries with
comparatively high HIV prevalence). Studies in the southern town of Yei, near to the Ugandan boarder, found adult HIV
prevalence of 4.4%, whereas prevalence in the inland town of Rumbek was found to be
0.4% among adults surveyed.
- Although the main mode of HIV
transmission in the region is unprotected sexual contact, in
Iran, high levels of
HIV infection (around 15%) are being found in male injecting drug users
attending drug treatment centres in Tehran. Most of the injecting drug users were
sexually active and exchanging money for sex was common, however only half had
ever used a condom.
- An important risk factor for HIV
infection among drug users in Iran appears to be
incarceration. Given that a large proportion of the total prison population in
Iran is made up of
people detained for drug-related offences, there is an urgent need to scale-up
prevention programmes in prisons.
- In Libya, the
number of HIV infections in young men has increased ten-fold since the turn of
the century. Unsafe drug injecting practices were responsible for around 90%
of those infections.
- In Algeria there were
some 19,000 people living with HIV in 2005. Sex work and injecting drug use
represent significant risk factors in the country’s epidemic. With one study
showing that around 41% of injecting drug users shared injecting equipment and
that 9% of female sex workers in Tamanrasset tested positive for HIV in 2004.
Algeria’s epidemic has
expanded into the wider population with HIV among women in antenatal care in
parts of the south exceeding 1%.
- Unprotected sex (including paid
sex and sex between men) and injecting drug use are major factors in
Egypt’s epidemic. Studies
carried out in Egypt showed that 55%
of injecting drug users shared injecting equipment.
- A study in the Saudi Arabian
capital, Riyadh showed that about half the HIV
infections detected occurred during heterosexual intercourse. The majority of
women with HIV were married and probably acquired the virus from their
husbands, who were most likely infected during paid
- In Morocco, sex work is a
significant risk factor in the country’s epidemic. In 2004, studies found HIV
prevalence of 1.9% among female sex workers.
- Very little is known about the
spread of HIV in other countries of the region and it is possible that hidden,
localised epidemics could be occurring undetected in some places. HIV-related
prevention information and services are in short supply and knowledge of AIDS
tends to be poor.
... Payvand News - 6/3/06 ... --