HIV 'epidemics' emerging in MENA region: study

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.

Related Stories

High HIV infection rate among Soweto Township gays

date Aug 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

HIV reservoirs remain obstacles to cure

date May 19, 2015

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has proven lifesaving for people infected with HIV; however, the medications are a lifelong necessity for most HIV-infected individuals and present practical, logistical, economic ...

Microclinics help keep Kenyan HIV patients in care

date May 18, 2015

A team led by researchers from UC San Francisco, Organic Health Response, and Microclinic International is reporting results of a study that showed significant benefits of microclinics—an innovative intervention ...

'Redesigned' antibodies may control HIV

date May 18, 2015

With the help of a computer program called "Rosetta," researchers at Vanderbilt University have "redesigned" an antibody that has increased potency and can neutralize more strains of the AIDS-causing human ...

User 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.