Q atar Foundation established Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) in 2006 as part of its ongoing commitment to establish Qatar as a knowledge-based economy. Qatar Foundation views research as essential to national and regional growth; as the means to diversify the nation’s economy, enhance educational offerings and develop areas that affect the community, such as health and environment. 

Qatar National Research Fund aims to foster original, competitively selected research in More...


  • Time Zone: Arabia Time Zone UTC+03:00
  • Address: PO Box 5825, Doha, Qatar

أنشأت مؤسسة قطر الصندوق القطري لرعاية البحث العلمي عام 2006 كجزء من التزامها المستمر بإقامة الاقتصاد القائم على المعرفة في دولة قطر. وتولي مؤسسة قطر للبحوث أهمية قصوى استنادًا إلى دورها الحيوي في تحقيق النمو سواء داخل قطر أو على الصعيد الإقليمي، وكونها وسيلة لتنويع اقتصاد البلاد، وتعزيز الفرص التعليمية، وتطوير المجالات المؤثرة في المجتمع كالصحة والبيئة.

ويهدف الصندوق القطري لرعاية البحث العلمي إلى تشجيع الأبحاث المبتكرة المختارة على أساس تنافسي في

المزيد ...

  • التوقيت: توقيت غرينتش +3
  • صندوق البريد: 5825 الدوحة, قطر
  • فاكس: 8079 4454 974
  • الدعم الفني:
  • الموقع الالكتروني:

Tuesday, March 21, 2023 11:39 PM Doha Time

Characterizing the HIV/AIDS Epidemics in the MENA Region

Characterizing the HIV/AIDS Epidemics in the MENA Region

Study helps Qatar achieve international recognition in the field of infectious diseases

According to an initial study funded by the World Bank, while there has been considerable progress in understanding the spread of HIV globally, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has been, for a long time, a place where knowledge about HIV transmission dynamics was “very limited, inaccessible, and subject to much controversy”.
The scale of the HIV/AIDS epidemic was unknown across MENA countries which led to poor allocation of resources to combat this infection. Over the last two decades, the region has witnessed a surge in the number of notified HIV cases. Therefore, MENA is one of only two regions where HIV is still rising, and the region with the fastest growing epidemic.
To address this gap, Dr. Laith J. Abu Raddad, Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university, conducted a comprehensive research project titled, ‘Characterizing the HIV/AIDS Epidemics in the Middle East and North Africa: Systematic Reviews and Quantitative Assessment’ (Project ID: NPRP4-924-3-251 and NPRP9-040-3-008-renewal).
Funded under QNRF’s flagship National Priorities Research Program (NPRP), this project was a major expansion of the initial study that Dr. Abu-Raddad conducted with World Bank funding. His study is the largest and most influential HIV scientific study in the MENA region to date, and has so far yielded 86 publications, including nine in high-impact journals.
The project identified extensive evidence on HIV and related infections in MENA and has been instrumental in providing a comprehensive and data-driven characterization of the epidemic at the country and regional levels.
To carry out research on such a grand scale, Dr. Abu Raddad collaborated with key international stakeholders namely: The World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and the World Bank. This helped him benefit from a privileged access to sensitive information in published and unpublished national reports. 
A key outcome of this project was documenting emerging HIV epidemics in populations engaging in high risk behavior in the MENA countries. Most of these epidemics started in recent years, suggesting a recent introduction of the virus and a rapid growth in its spread.
The project also found HIV testing among these high-risk populations at levels that are far below the guidelines of UNAIDS. According to Dr. Abu Raddad, this is a matter of grave concern as it indicates the potential for wider scale epidemics within these populations and an increased risk of acquiring HIV among their spouses.
Another influential study conducted in this project is the first systematic review of Chlamydia trachomatis infection in MENA which also provides its meta-analysis. This research was based on an in-depth multi-year investigation using data from more than 250,000 individuals from 20 out of the 23 MENA countries. The study documented unexpectedly high levels of chlamydia infection among MENA general populations, and higher levels among women in the region who are infertile or suffer pregnancy complications
This marks the first time a study provides a detailed characterization of chlamydia infection levels in the region which led to it being featured in the prestigious UK journal, The Lancet Global Health.
Moreover, the research studies of the project received wide and global recognition in scientific literature publications, such as Science, JAMA, and Lancet Infectious Diseases. Similarly, the findings and outcomes of this research project were featured in international media including the New York Times and Reuters, which has helped highlight and strengthen Qatar’s position as a regional leader and an international center of excellence in infectious disease research.
Commenting on the significance of  his research project in devising effective strategies to deal with HIV/AIDS epidemics, Dr. Abu Raddad said: “The project has been providing MENA countries with data that can inform the expansion of national HIV strategies and programming efforts, with the aim of reducing the number of new HIV infections in the region. The high-profile nature of this project and its publications, and the uniqueness of its findings, have contributed to an eminent international recognition of the research establishment in Qatar in the field of infectious diseases.”

«March 2023»