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Sharp Rise In HIV Infections In Iran

Sharp Rise In HIV Infections In Iran

The number of HIV infections in Iran has increased nine-fold over the past 12 years, and in stark contrast with previous decades, most infections were now through sexual intercourse not use of infected needles, the country's official IRNA news agency reported on Feb. 26.

A lecturer at Tehran's Medical Science University, Mohammad Hossein Ayati, told a conference on traditional medicine that while only 10% of HIV infections in 2001-2002 were from sexual contact, 91.33% of infections "in the last year" were from sex. (He was presumably referring to the Persian year that runs to March 20, 2013.)

Ayati did not give the latest AIDS numbers in Iran, but said increased infections were "ringing a big alarm." He urged preventive measures "including abstinence, marriage and use of protection, though none of these are taught in the country through the media or other means."

Sexual issues are not freely discussed in public in Iran — or much in private — though people are effectively encouraged to marry young to prevent promiscuity.

Beyond the HIV data, Ayati told the gathering there were other "dangerous" changes to Iranians' lifestyles, including eating more meat.

-Ahmad Shayegan

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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