Sex Transm Infect doi:10.1136/sextrans-2012-050888
  • Epidemiology
  • Supplement

Characterising the progress in HIV/AIDS research in the Middle East and North Africa

Open Access
  1. Laith J Abu-Raddad1,2,3
  1. 1Infectious Disease Epidemiology Group, Weill Cornell Medical College - Qatar, Qatar Foundation, Education city, Doha, Qatar
  2. 2Department of Public Health, Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University, New York, USA
  3. 3Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Laith J Abu-Raddad, Infectious Disease Epidemiology Group, Weill Cornell Medical College - Qatar, Qatar Foundation, Education City, P.O. Box 24144, Doha Qatar; lja2002{at}
  • Received 25 October 2012
  • Revised 27 February 2013
  • Accepted 18 March 2013
  • Published Online First 17 April 2013


Objectives The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is perceived to have limited HIV data. The objective of this study was to quantitatively characterise the progress in HIV research in this region since the discovery of the epidemic.

Methods Four indices were defined and implemented to measure the progress of HIV research using the PubMed, Embase, MENA HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Synthesis Project and US Census Bureau HIV/AIDS Surveillance databases. The four indices provide complementary measures to characterise different aspects of the progress of HIV research.

Results A total of 2118, 2352, 683 and 4889 records were identified through the PubMed, the Embase, the Synthesis Project and the HIV Prevalence indices, respectively. The proportion of the total global HIV records that relate to MENA is 1.2%. Overall, the indices show steady progress in the number of new records every year, with an accelerated pace in the last few years. The rate of progress in MENA was also higher than the rate of progress in HIV records globally. There is no evidence so far of stabilisation or a peak in the number of new records year by year. About half of the records were produced after the year 2005. The number of records shows large heterogeneity across countries.

Conclusions MENA has witnessed a rapid growth in HIV research over the last decade. However, there are still large gaps in HIV scientific evidence in the region, and the progress is far from being uniform across countries. Ongoing and future research needs to be geared towards academic standard and production of scientific publications.

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