May 2003
Foreign Affairs;May/Jun2003 Supplement, Vol. 82 Issue 3, p28
Academic Journal
This article discusses the status of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in North Africa and the Middle East. The number of people living in the region with HIV/AIDS increased by roughly 20 percent in 2002, bringing the total number to an estimated 550,000. Injection drug use (IDU) appears to be the principal driving force in the epidemic; in Iran, IDUs make up nearly two-thirds of all reported HIV/AIDS cases. UNAIDS reports that 10 percent of correctional inmates in Iran inject drugs, with more than 95 percent of such individuals sharing injection equipment with others. Access to harm reduction programs is almost non-existent in the region. In Morocco, a country of approximately 30 million people, nearly 350,000 cases of sexually-transmitted diseases were reported in 2001. According to the World Health Organization and UNAIDS, North Africa and the Middle East is the most underserved region with respect to voluntary counseling and testing. To respond to the growing epidemic in the region, annual expenditures of $192 million will be required for HIV prevention activities by 2005. Nearly $210 million in annual spending will be needed in the region by 2007. INSET: PREVENTION SUCCESSES IN NORTH AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST.


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