Spread of HIV in Chabahar County Alarms Welfare Official


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FILE PHOTO: Local Baluch women rest in the courtyard of their house in Tiss village in the suburb of the port city of Chabahar 1,452 km (902 miles) southeast of Tehran, near Strait of Hormuz January 16, 2012. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

There has been a marked increase in the number of recorded cases of HIV in Chabahar County, in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan, according to a report by ILNA (the Iranian Labor News Agency).

Hassan Tavaneh, the head of the local welfare office, was quoted as saying that health authorities had identified more than 78 cases of HIV in the village of Dargaz alone.

Mr. Tavaneh cited migration as the leading cause of the alarming increase in the number of people infected with the virus. He also added that the provincial government had failed to address the problem.

Tavaneh said health centers and clinics previously released periodic reports on the number of identified HIV cases, but they stopped doing that, fearing that it might scare tourists away.

“There are currently 300 confirmed HIV cases in Chabahar County,” he noted. “To publish an accurate report on the actual number of those with HIV, we need their names, birth certificates, and medical records. However, for the past year, health and medical centers in the county have refused to cooperate with us, saying that they cannot release the information without authorization from the provincial authorities.”

Tavaneh explained: “Our units have distributed HIV self-test kits to homeless shelters and emergency health centers. Provincial health officials have promised to provide the same service to those who need it. We have to wait and see if they will do so.”

“There are more than 1,500 homeless people in Chabahar Country. There are also between 20 to 30 underage addicts in neighboring Iranshahr, Delgan and Bazman counties. This figure is constantly changing,” Tavaneh said. “We hope that the government will address this serious problem as soon as possible.”


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- PHOTO TAKEN 03OCT03 - Heroin addicts gather outside the boundaries of the Zeytoon (Olive) camp of the Rebirth Society of Iran to inject heroin in Tehran October 3, 2003. Senior police officers have recently estimated that the Islamic Republic has some two million addicts.

[Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi]