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Surge in Iran's AIDS death rate

Source: Mehr News Agency, Tehran

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the pathogen that causes AIDS, has claimed 94 more lives in Iran over the second quarter of 1388 (began March 21, 2009), compared to the first quarter of the year, the Health Ministry said in a report on Monday.

poster bringing awareness about AIDS

According to the ministry, a total of 3,409 Iranians have died of the virus over the second quarter of the year (began March 21), while the death rate was 3,315 in the first quarter.

The report pointed out that there was also a significant increase in the number of HIV infected individuals over the said period.

Of the total of 20,130 individuals that were reportedly diagnosed with AIDS in the second quarter, 2,097 patients reached the late stage of the disease. However, from the 19,774 individuals infected during the first quarter of the year, 1,975 reached the late stage of the disease.

The report blamed drug injection for 76.6 percent of the AIDS transmission across the country.

Sexual and prenatal transmissions have infected 13.3 and 0.8 percent respectively.

Men account for 93 percent of the HIV patients, and women comprise 7 percent of the infected population, the report added.

Photo: Anti-AIDS and Drug Addiction Theater Festival in Tehran, August 2009

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

This condition progressively reduces the effectiveness of the immune system and leaves individuals susceptible to opportunistic infections and tumors. HIV is transmitted through direct contact of a mucous membrane or the bloodstream with a bodily fluid containing HIV, such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, preseminal fluid, and breast milk.

This transmission can involve sex, blood transfusion, contaminated hypodermic needles, exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or other exposure to one of the above bodily fluids.

AIDS is now a pandemic. The World Health Organization's latest statistics in 2007 estimated that 33.2 million people lived with the disease worldwide, from which 30.8 million are adult and 2 million are children, and women account for 15.5 million cases.

The disease killed an estimated 2.1 million people, including 330,000 children in 2007, and more than 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1981.

WHO figures show that Africa, with 11.6 million AIDS orphans, has the highest rate of HIV infections in the world -- around 67 percent of people with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa.

At the end of 2007, women accounted for 50 percent of all adults living with HIV worldwide. And young people (under 25 years old) comprise half of all new HIV infections worldwide.

The number of people living with HIV has risen from around 8 million in 1990 to more than 33 million today, and is still growing. There is a dire need to accelerate preventive measures in order to decrease the rapid spread of the disease worldwide.

... Payvand News - 11/23/09 ... --

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