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Heroin Use, AIDS Reported on Rise in Iran

TEHRAN, Iran, April 4, 1999 (Reuters) -- According to the head of the Iranian police anti-drugs unit, heroin use is increasing in the country, contributing to the spread of HIV. Brigadier-General Ali Shafiee said there were concerns that infections would spread from addicts to the rest of the population, resulting in an AIDS epidemic. There are about 1.2 million drug users in Iran, according to official statistics; however, one AIDS group estimates the actual number is three times as high. As of 1997, there were approximately 1,000 Iranians with AIDS.

AIDS cases in Iran - 1997

TEHRAN, Iran, October 15, 1997 -- More than 1,230 Iranians, mostly intravenous drug users, have been diagnosed as carriers of the HIV virus which causes AIDS, and 155 people have died of the disease, a newspaper reported Wednesday. The state-owned paper Iran quoted a member of the national council against AIDS as saying that drug users accounted for 829 of the 1,232 HIV-positive cases recorded in the country since 1985. The unidentified official said 155 have died of the disease in Iran and 186 have developed full-blown acquired immune deficiency syndrome. In June, the Iranian authorities said 1,047 people were HIV-positive in Iran. The first case of the disease was recorded in 1985, in a one-year-old baby who received a transfusion of imported blood. The Iranian authorities have banned blood imports since then and launched a campaign to prevent the spread of the disease.

Some 330 Iranians Affected by AIDS Virus - 1996

TEHRAN, Iran, September 9, 1996 (Xinhua News Agency) -- Iran's Anti-AIDS Council reports that 330 Iranians have HIV and that 130 have progressed to active AIDS. The council said that 80 percent of the cases were caused by blood transfusions, while the rest were attributed to sexual transmission. According to the council, a strict policy has been implemented to protect the blood supply, nearly eliminating the risk of contracting HIV. A doctor said that as many as 10,000 people could actually be infected, particularly because many physicians in the country do not know the symptoms of AIDS.