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More Data Needed On Populations At Risk Of HIV In Emergency Settings, Experts Say

“More information about groups vulnerable to HIV infection during emergencies — including those labeled ‘most at-risk populations’ (MARPs) — is needed to improve humanitarian HIV programming, experts say,” IRIN reports. “‘In tense situations where everyone is watching everyone else to see what other people get their hands on, social stigma and stratification are intensified and MARPs may experience heightened versions of whatever forces were marginalizing them to begin with,’ Gary Jones, security and humanitarian adviser for [UNAIDS], told IRIN,” the news service writes, noting, “MARPs include men who have sex with men (MSM), sex workers and their clients, and people who inject drugs (IDUs).” According to IRIN, “HIV risk is increased by social marginalization and punitive laws, but is typically mitigated through targeted, locally tailored services, such as safe spaces provided by community centers or established social networks, often in short supply during emergencies.” The news services notes issues surrounding access to HIV prevention and treatment services during conflict, discusses how mass displacement “may boost HIV vulnerability,” and examines challenges to obtaining data on HIV incidence in emergency situations (8/7).