Arab Region Has World’s Fastest Growing HIV Epidemic

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BEIRUT - At a time when HIV rates have stabilised or declined elsewhere, the epidemic is still advancing in the Arab world, exacerbated by factors such as political unrest, conflict, poverty and lack of awareness due to social taboos.
The United Nations estimates that there were 31,000 new cases and 16,500 new deaths in 2012 alone.

“Infections grew by 74 percent between 2001 and 2012 while AIDS- related deaths almost tripled,” says Dr Matta Matta, an infection specialist based at the Bellevue Hospital in Lebanon.

With the exception of Somalia and Djibouti, the epidemic is generally concentrated in vulnerable populations at higher risk, such as men-who-have-sex-with-men, female and male sex workers, and injecting drugs users. (END//2014)

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