People In Lebanon At Risk Of HIV Despite Country's Prevention Campaign

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The number of people in Lebanon who are at risk of contracting HIVcould increase despite the country's ongoing prevention campaigns,Mustafa al-Nakeeb, general-director of the National AIDS Control Program, said on Tuesday during a workshop in Beirut, Lebanon, the Beirut Daily Star reports.

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Citinga recent study conducted by the nongovernmental organization SoinsInfirmiers et Developpement Communautaire, al-Nakeeb said that HIVprimarily is seen in vulnerable groups, including injection drug usersand commercial sex workers, who spread the virus to the generalpopulation. The study indicated that the number of groups in Lebanonwho are vulnerable to HIV is increasing. It also found that 37.9% of894 people surveyed had no knowledge of HIV.

According toMichelle Ibenz of the Alliance Against AIDS, men who have sex with menalso are "increasingly vulnerable to HIV due to a conservative legal,socio-cultural and religious environment that leads to high levels ofstigma and discrimination." She added that the stigma leads to furtheralienation and complications because of unsafe sexual practices. Abusedchildren in Lebanon also are at an increased risk of contracting HIV,al-Nakeeb said.

In response to the findings, SIDC recentlylaunched a Web site that provides information on prevention methods,testing information, locations of local support centers, and links toother related Web sites and organizations. The SIDC program alsodistributes brochures, booklets and fliers about HIV and conductsawareness campaigns throughout the country. It also supplies condoms tobars and night clubs and provides judicial and psychological services,the Daily Star reports (Aridi, Beirut Daily Star, 7/25).
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Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserDaily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and signup for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published forkaisernetwork.org,a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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