October 13, 2010
On Tuesday, Iran's health minister warned that the Islamic republic could see a "volcanic explosion of AIDS" due to rising "immoral behavior" among its people. "Seven percent of those who have AIDS have been infected because of immoral behavior and attitudes and because of a rise in such dangerous behavior," said Marzieh Vahid Dastjurdi, the only female in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's cabinet. Official figures show 22,000 Iranians have been infected by HIV, but the actual number could be as high as 80,000 because "generally in the world the actual figure is four times more" than the registered one, she said at an AIDS seminar. Iran's estimated number "is not high if we compared it with world figures, but it is high for our culture," said Dastjurdi. Iran has been taking steps to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS, making condoms easily available in shops and educating people on the consequences of sex with multiple partners.