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Iran: Official Warns of 'Hidden' AIDS Epidemic

Tehran, 20 June 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Iran's official IRNA news agency reports that a health official has warned against discriminating against HIV-infected patients because it could lead to a hidden epidemic. Maryam Zadsar, an adviser to Iran's Blood Transfusion Organization on AIDS-related issues, said 12 percent of the country's more than 1 million intravenous-drug users are likely to be infected with the HIV virus, which causes AIDS. She said it would be more difficult to control an epidemic that is hidden from officials.

The Health Ministry reported in May that Iran has about 18,000 HIV-infected patients.