Iran News ...


2/23/03

Drug addiction basis of spread of AIDS in Iran

Mashhad, Khorasan prov, Feb 23, IRNA -- Head of Iran Welfare Organization Mohammad Reza Rahchamani said here Saturday that the growth of AIDS disease is rooted in illicit drug use.

Speaking at the 'Tuberculosis Seminar,' he added that currently 20,000 people are HIV positive throughout the country.

Of the figure 65 percent have been afflicted through drug use and 15 percent have been contaminated by engaging in illicit sexual relations.

"Over 15 percent of street women are addicts, and if we want to fight the spread of AIDS we have to combat drug use," he said.

Many of social ills in the Iranian society are caused by addiction and of 1,300 cases of divorces, "37 percent are due to addiction in the families." He also contributed 50 percent of all cases of theft to addicts.

He said in combating addiction, the two approaches of lowering supply and demand for drugs have both been among the country's priorities.

Another speaker Head of Iran Anti-Narcotics Headquarters Ali Hashemi said the priority in the anti-drug campaign has mainly been to rein in the supply of narcotics coming into the country, "but, we also need to implement some reforms in our approach and need to put a greater focus on reducing demand."

Hashemi further said plans have also been implemented in the areas of treatment and prevention, adding "families play a great role in prevention."

He referred to drawing up of programs for raising awareness and education of families on drugs "as a crucial step in the process of campaign against drugs."

He said more treatment and rehabilitation centers need to be set up throughout the country.

In the latest figure on AIDS in Iran, Persian language daily Toss'eh (Development), here on Wednesday quoted an official at the Health ministry as saying that over 744 Iranians have been identified with AIDS virus since the beginning of the current Iranian year (started March 21).

Health Ministry's director for disease management further said that over 4,424 people as having the fatal disease since AIDs was first detected in Iran. He warned that the figure is bound to increase by the end of the year.

He said the number of AIDS cases is on the rise, adding five percent of AIDS victims are females. The most common way of transmitting the disease is through injection by HIV-contaminated needles.

He said that it is essential to educate the youth about the disease, adding evidence indicates that greater awareness will reduce the risk of getting infected with AIDS.

In a move to check the spread of HIV, Iran warned its health officials in December against rejecting AIDS patients, saying it will deal with any such violations.

"Any refusal to accept those infected with AIDS virus is against the law and because of the social problem which it creates, any violation will be followed up," the ministry said in a directive, sent to the heads of the country's medical universities.

... Payvand News - 2/23/03 ... --



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