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2005-07-07-Iran's Response to HIV/AIDS Epidemic, Including Offering Clean Needles to Heroin Users
The Washington Post on Tuesday examined Iran's response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which the theocratic government "largely avoided" for 20 years.
The government has abandoned its "zero-tolerance policy" against heroin use -- which is "increasingly common" in the country -- and has begun distributing low-cost, clean needles and methadone to heroin users in an effort to prevent HIV from further spreading into the general population, the Post reports.
One survey found that 25% of heroin users were HIV-positive. The new policy, which supporters say is "practical" and opponents say is "simply unacceptable," shows that Iran "has joined the ranks of countries that acknowledge the difficulty of eradicating drug addiction and focus instead on curbing the most immediate dangerous behaviors that go with it," according to the Post (Vick, Washington Post, 7/5).