Despite experiencing a less intense situation than its neighboring countries in the south, the countries of northern Africa and the Middle East are nearing an explosion in the prevalence of HIV and AIDS. In 2003, UNAIDS, through data reported by several countries and computed estimations of those areas unreported, determined that the region as a whole entered 55,000 new cases in the singular year; the total now is 600,000 cases. This number is widely believed to be far larger, though, as data and logistical information from several technologically deficient and unsupported areas remains absent. In countries such as Iran and Algeria, both indicative of the region as a singular entity, the primary cause of infection is intravenous drug usage. Other users utilize old needles and this directly transmits blood from user to user. Unbeknownst to these drug abusers is the fact that the blood may contain HIV. The governments of this region face the monumental task of curbing their large drug using population in order to ensure the vitality and success of their citizens in both the near and distant future. For example, in Iran, a country with upwards of 300,000 drug users, the government must promptly introduce harm reduction, damage control and other prevention services for abusers. Unless the emergent state of this region is directly and actively addressed, the profound consequences of bureaucratic inaction will ravage the lives of thousands more.
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