Yale University

HIV/AIDS in Humanitarian Crises

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 in Humanitarian Crises". 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 program are to:

  1. Identify research questions related to the well-being of people with HIV or at risk for HIV and affected by humanitarian crises
  2. Create a network of scientists, practitioners, policymakers, and other stakeholders to work together on research and other relevant activities.

Displaced Person illustrationA humanitarian crisis is defined as an event or series of events that seriously threaten the health, safety, and well-being of a community or large group of people. Examples of such events include: natural disasters or environmental events, wars, civil unrest, economic and political crises, other displacements or forced migrations. Humanitarian crises have affected historic numbers of people worldwide in recent years and are threatening global progress on HIV/AIDS.

The CIRA initiative is informed by the global 95-95-95 targets of UNAIDS; the UNAIDS Gap Report; the UNHCR Global Trends Reports on Forced Displacement; 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.