Iran News ...


6/7/06

AIDS report praises Iran's approaches to reducing HIV

 
Tehran, June 7, IRNA -The UNAIDS 2006 Global AIDS Epidemic report praises Iran for adopting more progressive approaches to reducing HIV among injecting drug users, while cautioning that HIV epidemic is growing in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
 
The report which was released last week on the occasion of the High Level Meeting on AIDS in New York, took note of a significant judicial order in the Islamic Republic in 2005.
 
According to this order individuals who use illegal drugs would no longer be targets of criminal prosecution as long as they are under treatment as patients by the public health system.
 
 

UNAIDS 2006 Report on global AIDS epidemic
 
The report said that in the Middle East and North Africa, except for Sudan, national adult HIV prevalence in these countries in these regions is very low and does not exceed 0.1 percent.
 
"However, available data suggest that the epidemics are growing in several countries, including in Algeria, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and Morocco.
 
"The main mode of HIV transmission in this region is unprotected sexual contact, although injecting drug use is an increasingly important factor, especially in the epidemics in the Islamic Republic of Iran and Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
 
"With risk behavior widespread among Iran's large population of injecting drug users, high HIV infection levels are being found: when tested 15 percent of male injecting drug users attending Tehran drug treatment centers were HIV-positive.
 
"Most of the injecting drug users were sexually active, and exchanging money for sex was common; yet, only about half had ever used a condom (Zamani et al., 2005; Ministry of Health and Medical Education Iran, 2004).
 
"In Marvdasht, two in three injecting drug users seeking treatment reported sharing needles, and one in five said they had done so in prison (Day et al., 2005)," the report said.
 
The global report further said that "indeed, an important risk factor for HIV infection among injecting drug users appears to be incarceration (Rahbar et al., 2004). Given that a large proportion (almost half, by some estimates) of the total prison population in Iran comprises persons detained for drug-related offenses, there is an urgent need to expand HIV prevention (including methadone maintenance therapy) programs, especially in correctional settings (Zamani et al., 2005)."
According to the latest estimates presented in the report, the number of people living with HIV in Iran is 66,000, of which 11,000 are women. It said 1600 people have died due to AIDS in Iran. The estimates of those covered by HIV/AIDS intervention in Iran showed that there is need to expand this coverage.
 

 
 

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