Saturday, January 14, 2006

Welcome To Iran, The Other Red State

Dr. Minoo Mohraz, the nation's top AIDS expert and chairman of the Iranian AIDS Research Center at the University of Tehran, has been warning the government and the public about the disease for 20 years.

In the early days, she says, no one would listen. "It was very difficult in the beginning because they didn't understand -- not even the government officials believed me, she says." "Initially I was alone. Now I have a lot of colleagues helping. We had only 300 patients, now we have 12,000."

Dr. Mohraz says she saw the impact of AIDS in other places like Africa and knew it would be coming to Iran.

"The denial state is very high in our country," she says. "They believed it was all about high risk behavior, promiscuity in Africa, homosexuality in America."
Lemme see...denial of a very real world crisis...thinking it couldn't happen here...deeply religious country, to the point of boneheadedness when it comes to dealing with the rest of the world...couldn't Iran basically be Bumfuck, Alabama?

According to Dr. Mohraz, the largest percentage of HIV infections are so-called "opportunistic infections," infections caused by blood transfusions or drug injections. Iranian estimates for the HIV population are as high as 12,500 people currently (700 women), with 200,000 drug addicts. This number will skyrocket.

I think it's safe to say that, in a highly repressive and repressed state like Iran (or the deep South in America), there's a lot more to this than just some junkies, like prostitution (after all, drug addicts tend to look for money however they can find it) and of course, sexual behaviors.

Fundamentalist states are a breeding ground for what they themselves would term immoral behavior and the predictable response to such behavior is always more oppression. It's what we've seen in America. It's what we'll see in Iran. Understanding, knowledge, and tolerance are paid lip service (if I had a nickle for every "Christian" who talked about "killing alla them queers off, and ending AIDS," I would be living on my yacht)

Read more here.

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