HIV in Iran Rising Dramatically, Report Says

Health minister admits to 80% annual increase over the past decade.

The number of HIV-positive citizens in Iran has risen by 80 percent a year over the last decade, Iranian state television reported.

Talking about the virus that causes AIDS was once a taboo in the Islamic Republic. But in recent years, government officials in Iran have begun greater outreach and education about HIV and AIDS.

On Sunday, state television quoted Health Minister Hassan Ghzaizadeh saying there has been a nine-fold growth in the number of HIV/AIDS patients in the last decade.

The report said the number of registered HIV-positive citizens is about 27,000, though estimates place the figure much higher at about 100,000 infected. A third of those infected said they contracted the virus through sexual intercourse, while the rest got it from using infected syringes, the report said.