1HIV/STI Surveillance Research Center, and WHO Collaborating Center for HIV Surveillance, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran
2School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
3Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
4UNAIDS – The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Tehran, Iran
Although the HIV pandemic is witnessing a decline in the number of new infections in most regions of the world, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has a rapidly growing HIV problem. While generating HIV data has been consistently increasing since 2005, MENA’s contribution to the global HIV literature is just over 1% and the existing evidence often falls behind the academic standards. Several factors could be at play that contribute to the limited quantity and quality of HIV data in MENA. This editorial tries to explore and explain the barriers to collecting high-quality HIV data and generating precise estimates in MENA. These barriers include a number of logistic and socio-political challenges faced by researchers, public health officials, and policy-makers. Looking at successful regional HIV programs, we explore examples were policies have shifted and lessons could be learned in developing appropriate responses to HIV across the region.
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