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UN official expresses concern about rise in Iranian AIDS victims

Tehran, June 6, IRN-United Nations Resident Coordinator in Iran Knut Ostby on Tuesday expressed concern about the rise in the number of Iranians affected by HIV through sexual contacts.

He told a press conference that Iranian government carried out progressive plans to reduce contamination from injection by drug abusers, but, unfortunately, the number of victims affected the epidemic by risk taking behavior has increased.

Ostby called on Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), the Education Ministry and the Health Ministry to adopt joint programs to give awareness to 15-24-year old young adults, the vulnerable age-group to protect themselves from the HIV virus.

He said that standard of Iranian health service is satisfactory, but, Iranian society should get awareness from the dangerous epidemic.

"So far, only Iranian men were the victims of AIDS, because they mainly were drug addicts, but, currently, women have also joined the group of victims, because of the growth in the number of contamination from sex contacts," he said.

UNICEF Representative Christian Salazar said that AIDS has become main challenge of the millennium with 14,000 people being affected by HIV and 8,000 dying every day worldwide.

He drew attention of the journalists to the high level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York which adopted Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS last week.

He expounded the global targets and national targets of the political Declaration adding that UNICEF is closely working with Education Ministry at pre-school and before high school period and UNESCO is tasked with campaign against AIDS at the high school level in cooperation with the Education Ministry.

Salazar said that UNICEF is lobbying with Education Ministry to promote awareness against the deadly virus to the vulnerable age group 15-24 and UNESCO also offering experience to prevent further spread of AIDS among the students both girls and boys.

Director of UNAIDS Country Office Hamidreza Setayesh said that political commitment of governments of every nation is the key issue in fighting the epidemic.

He said that UNAIDS calls for every country's own experts to draw up plans to fight the epidemic in light of their own cultural and religious criteria and is not interested in translation of materials being used in other countries with different culture to be publicized in Iran.

Setayesh said that Iranian health and education system is progressive and Iranian experts are capable enough to adopt effective plans to fight the killer disease.

He said the Education and Health sectors are required to enforce joint programs to save the 15-24-year old young adults from AIDS at the educational centers.

... Payvand News - 6/6/06 ... --

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