UNAIDS - 17 February 2012
As Libya celebrates the first anniversary of the 17 February
revolution, UNAIDS together with the governing National
Transitional Council are putting the building blocks in place to
rejuvenate the country's AIDS response.
Following UNAIDS Executive Director meeting with the Libyan
Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Adel M. Abushoffa, a short term
plan has been set up for the country's AIDS response. The
foundation has also been laid to the development of a
comprehensive national strategic plan on AIDS.
In collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS
is providing technical guidance to the government through a
resident UNAIDS Senior Advisor to monitor the HIV epidemic,
identify priorities and together with the government identify the
main gaps in the response.
In the short term, the Libya has requested UNAIDS to support the
procurement of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment drugs for around
3000 people living with HIV while working in parallel to
reestablish the ARV supply and procurement system that has been
interrupted for more than six months. The ARVs are now being
shipped to the country.
UNAIDS is taking the lead in coordinating the UN system's
response to AIDS in Libya and new partnerships have been
established with key donors such as the European Commission.
Some of the critical long term issues that need attention include
strengthening the human resource base of the health system and
ensuring that healthcare workers have the skills to provide HIV
prevention and treatment services.
The AIDS response also has to focus on reducing stigma and
discrimination, especially by health workers, decentralization of
HIV-related services, reaching people at increased risk of HIV
such as sex workers, men who have sex with men, people who inject
drugs as well as migrants and displaced people. The long term
national strategic plan will focus on building the capacity of
civil society organizations to implement HIV prevention outreach
As a first step to developing evidence informed AIDS response,
Libya, in collaboration with WHO and UNAIDS, is strengthening its
HIV surveillance system. Information about the epidemiological
situation in Libya is sparse, yet preliminary assessments
indicate a severe epidemic among people who inject drugs as well
as anecdotal information about HIV infection among sex workers
and sex trade on migration routes in the south of the country.
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