Published online Mar 25, 2021. doi: 10.5501/wjv.v10.i2.69
Peer-review started: November 4, 2020
First decision: December 11, 2020
Revised: December 22, 2020
Accepted: January 8, 2021
Article in press: January 8, 2021
Published online: March 25, 2021
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a serious health problem in Africa but few studies have highlighted the epidemiological and spatiotemporal patterns of this infection, particularly in the North African region. Evidence is increasing regarding the magnitude of this problem and its social and economic impact in these countries. Analyzing the epidemiological situation of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS infection in this region has become one of the necessities for better understanding the current situation and for future planning.
There has been a dearth of information on the epidemiological status of HIV/AIDS in North African countries. This raises a serious concern regarding the impact of this infection in the region and how it could be controlled.
The aim of this comprehensive review was to analyze and characterize the epidemiological and geographic variation and clustering of HIV/AIDS in North Africa and outline the policies needed to combat this problem at both the national and regional levels.
This is a comprehensive review of published data on different aspects of HIV/AIDS in North African countries in the last ten years (2008-2017). Every reported study was analyzed and all epidemiological parameters and risk factors associated with the spread of HIV in the region were determined. This will alert healthcare professionals and researchers to act immediately to implement proper policies to overcome this increasing problem.
The results indicate an increasing spread of HIV/AIDS in North African countries, with certain variations in prevalence, clustering and HIV subtypes between the countries and within regions of the same county. Higher prevalence rates have been reported among vulnerable populations.
Based on the evidence of the collected data, North African countries are facing an intensifying problem of HIV infection. There are not enough reliable data to determine the magnitude of this problem and no clear policy to combat the infection in the region.
We strongly suggest that specific and well-designed epidemiological studies should be conducted at national and regional levels to quantify the magnitude of the problem. Furthermore, clearly defined policies should be implemented to overcome this increasing problem.