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DUBAI, 1 December 2014 (IRIN) – Rates of new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are rising faster in the Middle East and North Africa than anywhere else globally.
As the world marks World AIDS Day, experts warn that cultural stigmatization and punitive legal regimes mean many patients are left in the shadows unable to access treatment and support, leading to unnecessary loss of life and increasing transmission risks.
“For the moment HIV in MENA is a concentrated epidemic among certain key populations – such as men-who-have-sex-with-men, female sex workers, people who use drugs,” she explained. “They are engaged in practices and behaviours that are socially and religiously condemned, and in the vast majority of countries in the region, all three are illegal."
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