Yale University

HIV/AIDS among Refugees and Displaced Populations

The Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA) launched a new initiative in fall 2020 to convene a series of symposia and research activities focused on "HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment among Refugees and Forcibly Displaced Populations". The initiative is co-led by Kaveh Khoshnood, PhD, MPH and Luke Davis, MD, MAS and coordinated by Dini Harsono, MSc. Hanna Peterson (MPH Candidate, Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases) is a student assistant on this project.

The overarching goals of the symposium series are to:

  1. Identify research priorities pertinent to populations at risk for HIV and/or with HIV in the context of humanitarian crises
  2. Create a collaborative network of academicians, providers, community advocates, policymakers, and other stakeholders to facilitate research and other collaborations.

Displaced Person illustrationThe symposium initiative is informed by the global 95-95-95 targets of UNAIDS, i.e., to diagnose 95% of all HIV-positive persons, provide antiretroviral therapy for 95% of those diagnosed, and achieve viral suppression for 95% of those treated by 2030; the UNAIDS Gap Report; and the Fogarty International Center's Advancing Health Research in Humanitarian Crises project.

This initiative is supported by the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Memorial Fund and the Council on Middle East Studies at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. Other partners include the Council on African Studies, Program on Refugees, Forced Displacement, and Humanitarian Responses, and Yale Institute for Global Health.

Symposium: "Addressing HIV/AIDS in Humanitarian Crises: Perspectives from Lebanon" - December 7, 2020

The first symposium, "Addressing HIV/AIDS in Humanitarian Crises: Perspectives from Lebanon" was held on December 7, 2020 in observance of World AIDS Day. The symposium addressed current research and identified challenges and strategies related to HIV/AIDS testing, linkage, and care retention among Lebanese citizens and displaced populations in Lebanon, including the impact of economic, political, and COVID-19 crises and the aftermath of the August 4, 2020 explosion on service and care delivery. The event also reflected on the resilience of the HIV community in Lebanon and the important role of community-driven initiatives to support the HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 responses in humanitarian setting.