Thursday, August 04, 2011

Middle East HIV

A new study looks at HIV in North Africa and the Middle East:
"Epidemics of HIV have emerged among gay and bisexual men in the Middle East and North Africa, while high levels of risky sexual behaviour threaten to spread Aids further in the region, researchers said on Tuesday.

"In the first study of its kind in the region, researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar found evidence for concentrated HIV epidemics.

"Epidemics are said to be present when infection rates are above 5 per cent in a certain population group. The study found evidence of this in Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan and Tunisia...

"There is little published data on the Middle East and North African regions and Ghina Mumtaz, who led the study with colleague Laith Abu Raddad, said this had been driving misconceptions that there is no reliable information at all.

"'It's like the black hole in the global HIV map, and this has triggered many controversies and debates around the status of the epidemic,' she said.

"But when they looked more closely, the researchers found that data was indeed available, although it had been had not been made public."

I'm not sure if this is related to the Arab Spring, but AIDS is exactly the kind of issue governments in the region preferred not to deal with. Meanwhile, Razib Khan looks more deeply at the homosexuality angle, find really high rates of homosexuality in the samples and suggesting that it could be statistical evidence of young people engaging in homosexual acts because heterosexual ones are so much more difficult.

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