Middle East and North Africa

We’re on the frontline of AIDS in the Middle East and North Africa, helping men who have sex with men access vital HIV services and studying links between HIV and violence against women.

Although HIV prevalence across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is low, it has one of the fastest growing concentrated epidemics in the world. One of the reasons for this is that it is largely hidden, with the most affected groups of people facing the highest levels of discrimination and criminalisation in everyday life.

For example, same sex activity is illegal in many countries across MENA, which makes it very difficult for men who have sex with men (MSM) to access the HIV prevention and treatment services that they need. Meanwhile, women living with HIV in this region report high levels of violence both before and after their diagnosis.

Reaching these groups has been historically difficult. But we’re proud to work where others do not, creating programmes to improve MSM sexual health, reduce the violence that women face and influence local policy and attitudes.

Did you know?

  • The number of new HIV infections across MENA rose 12% between 2010 and 2017.
  • More than one third of HIV infections across MENA in 2017 were among people who inject drugs.
  • Only 29% of people living with HIV in the MENA region in 2017 were on treatment.
  • Eight countries in the MENA region have the death penalty for same-sex sexual conduct.

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