December 05, 2016
Dr Masoud Mardani, dean of Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University Medical School and a member of the Iranian Research for HIV/AIDS (IRCHA), has warned that the country could face an AIDS epidemic unless a concerted effort is made by the press, state media, health officials, and doctors to inform and educate young people about the dangers of unprotected sex.
IRCHA reported a significant surge in the number of AIDS cases among young people engaging in risky sexual behavior, back in July 2016. In an interview with the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), Dr Mardani said: “ Of the 32,670 HIV cases that have been recorded so far this year, 84 percent are male and 16 percent are female, with 54 percent between the ages of 21 and 35. The sexually active youth are clearly at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.”
Dr Mardani said that almost twice as many men as women have been diagnosed with HIV in the first three months of the current Iranian calendar (year starting 21 March 2016). He added that about 34 percent of those infected with HIV/AIDS were drug users who had contracted the virus by using contaminated syringes for injection, and 44 percent had contracted the virus through sexual activities. This is a significant change as compared to the previous decade when the sharing of contaminated needles among drug users was the major contributing factor to the spread of AIDS.
Some health experts believe that the actual number of those infected with the HIV virus in Iran is much higher than the official figures.