An estimated 460,000 [400,000-530,000] people were living with HIV in the Middle East and North Africa at the end of 2009, up from 180,000 [150,000-200,000] in 200. The number of people newly infected has also increased over the last decade. There were 75,000 [61,000-92,000] people newly infected in 2009, more than twice the number
(36,000 [32,000-42,000]) in 2001. AIDS-related deaths have nearly tripled: from 8,300 [6,300-11,000] in 2001 to 23,000 [20,000-27,000] at the end of 2009. Reliable data on the epidemics in the Middle East and North Africa remain in short supply, creating difficulty in tracking recent trends with confidence. The
available evidence points to increases in HIV prevalence, new HIV infections, and AIDS-related deaths.
The HIV prevalence is low in most countries, with the exceptions of Djibouti and southern Sudan, where HIV is spreading in the general population, and pregnant women using antenatal services have a HIV prevalence of more than 1%. The Islamic Republic of Iran is believed to have the largest number of people
who inject drugs in the region, and its HIV epidemic is centered mainly within this population group. An estimated 14% of people who inject drugs countrywide were living with HIV in 2007.
The extremely high prevalence of hepatitis C virus (80%) found among detained people who inject drugs in Tehran indicates considerable potential for the spread of HIV among and beyond people who inject drugs. It has been estimated that close to half (45%) of the Iranian prison population is incarcerated
for drug-related offences. Exposure to contaminated drug-injecting equipment features in the epidemics of Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Morocco, Oman, the Syrian Arab Republic, and Tunisia.