Behind the Veil of a Public Health Crisis: HIV/AIDS in the Muslim World
NBR Special Report no. 9

Behind the Veil of a Public Health Crisis
HIV/AIDS in the Muslim World

by Nicholas Eberstadt and Laura M. Kelley
June 1, 2005

The newest phase of the global AIDS pandemic is the unfolding of the contagion across the great Islamic expanse. In the years immediately ahead, the HIV/AIDS pandemic threatens to wash through the Muslim world. The disease will exact a grim toll in a number of vulnerable populations living within volatile polities—places unlikely to cope well with the significant new social stresses and economic burdens brought on by HIV/AIDS.

The Muslim world consists of more than fifty countries in which forty percent or more of the populace practices some form of Islam. It stretches across three continents and encompasses many hundreds of cultures. From Albania and Turkey in Europe, across countries bordering the Sahara in Northern Africa, and through the Persian Gulf and South Asia to Malaysia and Indonesia in the east, the Muslim world is home to over one billion people.