News ID: 58323
Published: 0340 GMT December 28, 2014

Support for HIV-infected women, kids

Support for HIV-infected women, kids

Women who contracted HIV through their husbands could receive assistance from a non-governmental organization named Revival of Values Association, said its founder.

In an interview with the Persian daily 'Iran', Khosrow Mansourian said the association is primarily an information-disseminating organization working to prevent the spread of HIV by raising public awareness.

 "It also offers counseling and relief services to families suffering from disease-related complications," he said.

"About 60,000 are not aware of their infection, as they avoid taking the HIV test due to social stigmatization."

Mansourian noted that his association supports all women infected with the disease through their husbands, particularly those who are pregnant and those whose husbands lost the battle against the disease.

"Pregnant women are provided with an opportunity to give birth through C-section, as it will lower the chances of mother-to-infant transmission," he said.

Mansourian also said babies born to infected mothers are fed with baby formula to reduce the risk of transmission.

"Infected mothers are provided with a monthly financial stipend to meet their needs and to spend on their children's education," he said.

The official said infected women face numerous challenges when it comes to employment, renting a house and enrolling their infected children in schools, stressing that social workers must help them enjoy a healthy life.

"Our association is working hard to remove the stigma associated with HIV patients," he said.

Mansourian said the phone number 66935524 provides consultancy to citizens and reassures them that their information will remain confidential.

"Data collected over a short duration showed married women made 73 percent of the phone calls and 37 percent of callers felt scared because of having an unhealthy relationship," he said.

Mansourian said 91 percent of infected individuals in Iran are male of ages 25 to 34, according to the Health Ministry's statistics.

Patients registered by the Revival of Values Association attend rehabilitation sessions and visit different cities, which help boost their spirit.

 

Statistics

 

Dr. Abbas Sedaqat, the head of Health Ministry's AIDS Department, announced that 37 percent of HIV-infected individuals contracted it through unprotected sex in the year ending March 2014, with women accounting for 30 percent of cases in the same period.

Speaking in the Conference on Family and Fighting AIDS on Saturday, Sedaqat said HIV-positive women could give birth to HIV-free babies, if they receive pre- and post-natal services in special centers.

"An estimated 85,000 have AIDS in Iran, of whom 28,000 are officially registered," he said, blaming ignorance for the spread of the virus.

Sedaqat further said drugs such as amphetamines and tablets prescribed for slimming, which contain a high amount of narcotics, are linked with the spread of HIV.

"Younger people are more likely to get involved in unhealthy relations under the influence of hallucinogens," he said.

"Early diagnosis could reduce the spread of HIV and increase life expectancy of patients, calling on those suspecting infection to take a test as soon as possible."

Sedaqat said clinics are operating in Iran where anyone suspected of being infected could take a test.

"They should rest assured that all information will remain confidential and patients could receive free services at these clinics," he said.

   
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