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Algeria, UNAIDS To Build First HIV/AIDS Research Center In MENA Region

“Algeria will partner with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) to build the first HIV/AIDS research center in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA),” Nature Middle East reports. “The center, which should be operational by 2013, will be based in the city of Tamanrasset in southern Algeria” and “will bring together researchers from Africa, Europe and the United States working on treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS,” the magazine writes.

“Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, says the Algerian government has pledged to fund the whole project except for the salaries of the researchers, for which UNAIDS will be responsible,” the magazine notes. “Besides the scientific research conducted there, they will gather important information about the spread of the disease in Algeria and the region,” Othman Bourouba, director of AIDS Algerie, a local NGO, said, according to Nature. “While HIV prevalence in MENA remains comparatively low, according to the UNAIDS regional report on HIV/AIDS in MENA in 2011, the region has the second fastest growing incidence of HIV/AIDS, only surpassed by Eastern Europe and Central Asia,” the magazine adds (Boumedjout, 10/9).