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Multi-center Operational Research on Drug Use & Harm Reduction Among People Living with HIV/AIDS in the Middle East & North Africa Region By MENAHRA, 2017

The Middle East and North Africa Harm Reduction Association (MENAHRA) conducted an operational research that explores and assesses the situations and risks faced by People Living with HIV (PLHIV) who use drugs. The report of this research investigates and details the health-related harms, stigma and discrimination, service access and adherence barriers, as well as the impact of current harm reduction strategies among PLHIV who use drugs. The results of this report should guide decision-makers and civil society organizations towards the provision of more comprehensive and accessible harm reduction and HIV services.

The research included 230 participants of whom 149 PLHIV who use and/or inject drugs and 81 key informants from Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Data were collected by trained fieldwork teams through focus group discussions, case studies, and semi-structured interviews.
The research objectives were the following:

  1. To explore the drug use context among PLHIV
  2. To measure the levels of knowledge about HIV/AIDS, harms of drug use, and HR and healthcare services
  3. To identify HR and healthcare services and service provision
  4. To define the reasons leading to stigma and discrimination
  5. To identify barriers and facilitators hindering/facilitating access to HR, HIV treatment, care and support services
  6. To provide recommendations for improved HR and healthcare services for PLHIV who use and/or inject drugs in the region.

It is noteworthy that 37% of the participants had 128 children, and their age ranged between two months and 21 years. The highest number of children was in Afghanistan and Pakistan, then Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco. Only 41 of them were tested for HIV, including all children in Tunisia and Morocco. Four were found HIV positive (2 in Egypt, 1 in Tunis, and 1 in Morocco).

To read the complete report of the Research, you can go to this link at MENAHRA site: