An Evolving HIV Epidemic in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region: A Scoping Review

Arvin Karbasi, Judy Fordjuoh, Mentalla Abbas, Chukwuemeka Iloegbu, John Patena, Deborah Adenikinju, Dorice Vieira, Joyce Gyamfi, Emmanuel Peprah

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is severely understudied despite the region’s increase in new HIV infections since 2010. A key population that is particularly affected, due to the lack of adequate knowledge and proper interventional implementation, includes people who inject drugs (PWID). Furthermore, the paucity of HIV data (prevalence and trends) worsens an already critical situation in this region. A scoping review was conducted to address the scarcity of information and to synthesize the available data on HIV prevalence rates within the key population of PWID throughout the MENA region. Information was sourced from major public health databases and world health reports. Of the 1864 articles screened, 40 studies discussed the various factors contributing to the under-reporting of HIV data in the MENA region among PWID. High and overlapping risk behaviors were cited as the most prevalent reason why HIV trends were incomprehensible and hard to characterize among PWID, followed by lack of service utilization, lack of intervention-based programs, cultural norms, lack of advanced HIV surveillance systems, and protracted humanitarian emergencies. Overall, the lack of reported information limits any adequate response to the growing and unknown HIV trends throughout the region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3844
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • HIV
  • HIV data
  • Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
  • key populations
  • people who inject drugs (PWID)
  • under-reporting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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