UNESCO review of higher education institutions' responses to HIV and AIDS. Lebanon: the case of the American University of Beirut, Lebanese University, and the University of Saint Joseph

Case Studies & Research
36 p.

The first AIDS case was identified in Lebanon in 1984, followed by a steady increase in the number of cases of people living with HIV/AIDS. This increase in conjunction with existing social, cultural and economic factors in the country (conservative segments of society, religiosity, open tourism, migrant labour) renders the situation more critical. HIV prevalence remains low with the cumulative number of reported cases by December 2004 at 808, although data remain inconsistent due to under-reporting. HIV/AIDS is not considered to be a public health threat by the government of Lebanon, although mechanisms have been in place to respond to the epidemic since 1989. The National AIDS Programme (NAP) was established in 1989 as a joint programme of the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The NAP has been leading the national response to the challenges posited by HIV/AIDS with the support of three consulting committees formed in 1990. In 2001, the government of Lebanon issued a national population policy that created a framework for reproductive health and HIV/AIDS activities. Also, NAP led an initiative to collaborate with parliamentarians, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the media, hospitals, and private schools and pharmaceutical companies. The universities in Lebanon have not been part of this national response, and currently there is no official collaboration with any major university to respond to HIV/AIDS. Three universities were chosen for this review: the American University of Beirut (AUB), Lebanese University, and University of Saint Joseph.

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