0708 GMT February 18, 2019
This year, the theme of the World AIDS Day is “Know your status”. Indeed for Iran, like many other countries, one of the key challenges in facing HIV/AIDS is that persons affected by HIV are unaware of their own status. However, it should be noted that based on global estimates, about 9.4 million people who are living with HIV are ignorant about their conditions. In the same context and as referred to in “The Fourth National Strategic Plan (NSP4) for AIDS Control in the Islamic Republic of Iran”, targeted and effective interventions for HIV test is an essential action, the realization of which requires raising public awareness and creating motivation as well as increasing access to such tests.
Another big concern about AIDS that is mentioned in the above National Strategic Plan is: “The likelihood of the fourth wave of HIV transmission as a combination of the second and third waves of HIV transmission through contaminated needle and syringe sharing and high-risk sexual activities.”
I strongly believe that any success in national plans on AIDS control is only possible through integrity and concerted efforts by the concerned agencies and departments on the one hand, and collaboration of all civil society activists and knowledgeable persons in this domain.
The participatory policymaking should in reality be put into practice; particularly, for issues such as AIDS with worrying indexes (including percentage of women in cases diagnosed, transmission rate and age trend) there should be a national resolve to overcome the problem. Strong national resolve must be in place to stop HIV-related labeling, to end existing taboos, to teach all people how to prevent and protect themselves, precisely play one’s role and duties and national resolve to follow reference groups whose influence on their target community is well-built.
All government sectors and other governing bodies, civil society institutions, media professionals, political parties, academics, clergymen, and everybody must fulfill their obligations in tackling AIDS, i.e. prevention, treatment, care and protection.
As the minister of cooperatives, labor and social welfare of the Islamic Republic of Iran, while undertaking to further encourage and support civil society actors and to set the platform for their structured participation in policymaking in this field, I will do my utmost to speak out about the necessities and requirements for success in controlling and preventing AIDS, and to speak about problems and expectations of people living with AIDS, since I believe that HIV-affected persons should feel that their voice is heard by the statesmen and officials who spare no efforts to meet their expectations.
Furthermore, the departments and offices under Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare who are tasked with duties in the fields of insurance, livelihood support, technical and vocational training and employment generation services within national strategic plan on AIDS control, together with the State Welfare Organization with important responsibilities for education and information, preventing transmission through injection and reducing relevant damage, preventing sexual transmission, protection and empowerment, shall be obliged to report initiatives and measures to the public on periodic basis and take more advantage of the capacity of civil society actors in implementing policies by enhancing scientific and policy approach.