HIV 'epidemics' emerging in MENA region: study

August 3, 2011

The AIDS virus is spreading like an epidemic in some Middle East and North African countries because of homosexual encounters between men, a study warned on Wednesday.

"This systematic review and data synthesis indicate that appear to be emerging among MSM (men who have sex with men) in at least a few MENA countries," said a study published in PLoS Medicine.

The study, titled "Are HIV Epidemics among Men Who Have Sex with Men Emerging in the Middle East and North Africa?", warned that the levels "could already be in a concentrated state among several MSM groups."

It showed that the rates of HIV infection among MSM in some countries have exceeded the five percent threshold which defines concentrated epidemics, namely in Egypt, Sudan and Tunisia.

The study put the rates of among MSM in Egypt's main cities of Cairo and Alexandria at 5.7 percent and 5.9 percent respectively, while the rate among receptive MSM in Sudan's capital reached 9.3 percent.

Tunisia's total rate was put at 4.9 percent, ranging between 0.8 and 6.3 percent in three regions.

"There is an urgent need to expand HIV surveillance and access to HIV testing, prevention, and treatment services in a rapidly narrowing window of opportunity to prevent the worst of HIV transmission among MSM in the Middle East and North Africa," the study said.

"Prevention of male-to-male HIV transmission must be set as a top priority for HIV/AIDS strategies in MENA," it added.

PLoS, or the , is an open-access, online medical journal.

Explore further: African men who have sex with men are ostracised from HIV services

Related Stories

High HIV infection rate among Soweto Township gays

August 31, 2009

New research from UCSF examining HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the township of Soweto in South Africa has found that a third of gay-identified men are infected with HIV.

Recommended for you

Mutational tug of war over HIV's disease-inducing potential

August 23, 2016

A study from Emory AIDS researchers shows how the expected disease severity when someone is newly infected by HIV reflects a balance between the virus' invisibility to the host's immune system and its ability to reproduce.

Dormant copies of HIV mostly defective, new study shows

August 8, 2016

After fully sequencing the latent HIV "provirus" genomes from 19 people being treated for HIV, scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine report that even in patients who start treatment very early, the only widely available method ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.