Friday, January 04, 2013

HIV Death Rates Rising in Muslim Countries & Russia

“[Muslim] People are becoming more sexually active with no proper education or awareness,” said Johnny Tohme, a social worker with Marsa, the only Lebanese clinic that offers free HIV testing. Between 1,500 and 3,500 people are living with HIV in Lebanon today, according to figures from Marsa and UNAIDS.

“And with the growth of new infections, if no proper-follow up is administered, the infection is going to spread faster,” he said.

The Arab-wide picture is just as bleak. The Middle East and North Africa maintain just one percent of the world’s HIV caseload, with approximately 300,000 adults and children living with the virus, according to the United Nations.

But the fatality rate for AIDS patients has increased significantly in recent years, while in most of the rest of the world deaths have either stayed the same or dropped. _Global Post
From North Africa to the Middle East to Central Asia, HIV death rates have risen almost 20% across the traditional Muslim homelands.
...two regions saw significant increases – AIDS-related deaths went up by 17 percent in the Middle East and North Africa, and by more than 20 percent across Eastern Europe and Central Asia...

...New HIV cases in Russia:

The public health office says more than 60,000 people tested positive for HIV in the first 10 months of 2012 – up 12.5 percent on the previous year
Almost 2/3 of those who tested positive were male – the overall sickness rate was highest in the 30-40 age group
The mortality rate in this same period grew by 14 percent _Al Jazeera
The New York Times reveals that the problem in the Muslim world has been growing for some time:
AIDS is on the rise in many Muslim countries, driven by men having sex with other men in secret because of homophobia, religious intolerance and fear of being jailed or executed, according to a new study.

...Accurate statistics on some aspects of health are hard to get from governments in some Middle Eastern countries. For example, international health authorities say that the world’s highest rates of birth defects are in Muslim countries where cousins sometimes marry, but that governments are reluctant to admit it. _NYT
The problem of inaccurate statistics may be even worse -- much worse -- in the sub Saharan African countries, which are supposedly experiencing significant drops in HIV incidence and mortality. But the numbers are only as good as the methods used to acquire them, and in nations such as South Africa and Zimbabwe, the public health apparatus has fallen on hard times.

Another important public health problem knocking on the door for both the Muslim world and the more modern region of Europe, is tuberculosis -- TB.
All along the edges of Western Europe, new and hard-to-defeat strains of tuberculosis are gaining a foothold, often moving beyond traditional victims—alcoholics, drug users, HIV patients—and into the wider population. _WSJ

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