Campaign Against HIV, STDs

Campaign Against HIV, STDsCampaign Against HIV, STDs

One of the key issues to be addressed in the current year (started March 21) under the Health Reform Plan launched in May 2014, is to promote the campaign against HIV in cooperation with other organizations, said Abbas Sedaghat, head of AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases Control Department, at the Ministry of Health.

An agreement has been signed between the department and the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology to organize educational campaigns on HIV and STDs in universities, he said, ISNA reported.

“AIDS education should begin in schools, but there are not enough programs to provide the relevant modules,” Sedaghat said. Officials in the Ministry of Education are fully aware of the problem and are making efforts to meet the Health Ministry’s demands. However, “they should speed up the process through effective plans for students.”

According to the latest statistics, in early 2014, nearly 28,000 individuals were identified as HIV-positive. Drug abuse is the top cause of the disease, but in recent years unprotected sex was found to be a major reason, especially among younger people. Nearly 36% of the patients were infected due to unprotected sex, and among them one-third were women.

 Average Age

On the spread of narcotics, amphetamine and amphetamine-like stimulants and psychotropic drugs, he said the average age of people with AIDS is between 25 and 35, comprising 46% of all HIV-positives. The most effective strategy to control the trend is to create a well-informed society, and especially target youngsters.

An agreement between the Ministry of Health and the Iranian Red Crescent Society’s Youth Organization had been signed so student volunteers could publicize the issue in urban and rural areas. The media, especially national TV and radio (IRIB) can also play an effective role.

An interactive website providing all necessary information on AIDS will soon be launched, and online counseling will be available. Through public determination and people’s awareness, containment of the disease is possible, Sedaghat said.