At present between 850 and 2,500 people have the full-blown AIDS in the country, Mohammad Hossein Moussavi, an official at the Health Ministry, said at a symposium to promote health.
Of this, 256 AIDS patients have lost their lives so far, the official added.
The figures contradicts those announced by the Iranian Blood Transfusion Organization which announced last October that there were 4,237 AIDS patients in Iran and that 585 people had died of diseases related to acquired immune deficiency syndrome in the country.
The country has taken a series of measures in the past to check the spread of AIDS, including segregating imprisoned drug addicts whose intravenous injections by contaminated shared needs are the number one contractors.
"Addicted prisoners account for the largest number of those infected with the AIDS disease and transferring these individuals is a fundamental step toward correcting the prisoners and guaranteeing their health," the head of State Prisons Organization, Morteza Bakhtiari, said.
About 300,000 addicts are said to be injecting drugs in Iran.
Health Ministry has also warned its officials against turning away AIDS patients, saying it would deal with any violations.
"Any refusal to accept those infected with the AIDS virus is against the law and because of the social problem which it creates, any violation will be dealt with," the ministry said in a directive, sent to the heads of the country's medical universities in January.
... Payvand News - 5/15/03 ... --