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Some have dared challenge the long-standing taboos in Iran surrounding sex, speaking publicly about the need for safe sex, sex education and regular HIV testing.“Everybody has a very bad attitude toward this disease,” said Mahboobeh Zeinali, an HIV-positive woman living in Tehran.“Our youth must learn about sexual issues in schools,” he said.Botswana seems an unlikely place for an AIDS epidemic.“They even think if they wash their hand where I do they can be infected, but they can’t.” According to government estimates, 66,000 people out of Iran’s 80 million people have HIV, though about 30,000 of them have no idea they have the virus.Iranian authorities blame that on how little general knowledge many have about the virus.
I can say this stigma and discrimination is the biggest problem they are facing.” Khosro Mansourian, who leads the Reviving Values aid group, said sex education and better understanding can help solve that.
Get The Times of Israel's Daily Edition by email and never miss our top stories Free Sign Up But her worries, as well as those of her aid group called Reviving Values, are not confined these days just to those sharing needles to inject heroin that comes across the border from Afghanistan’s thriving opium trade.
Iran has seen a surge in the number of HIV infections spread by sex, especially among its youth.
“If we look at five or six years ago, the rate of infection through sex was around 16 or 17 percent, to 20% at the most. Now it is up to 40% or even more in some provinces,” Dr.
Mohammad Mahdi Gouya, Iran’s deputy health minister, told The Associated Press.