At least 300 people, including children, are believed to have been infected with HIV in southwest province of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari by health authorities using contaminated syringe, reports indicate.
People in the village of Chenar Mahmoud in Lordegan, have pointed to medical negligence across the local health care system as the cause of the outbreak.
According to locals, people contracted HIV from needles used by the village’s health organization to test for diabetes two months ago.
The incident has also affected inhabitants of other neighboring villages.
On Wednesday, a crowd of residents, mostly women, held a demonstration in front of the governor’s office and the health ministry’s office in Lordegan, protesting regime authorities’ unhealthy practices resulting in the outbreak.
Protesters say the agent from the House of Health had used contaminated syringes for multiple persons to take diabetes test, leading to the infection of a large number of residents of this village to HIV virus.
“The people of Chenar Mahmoud are scared,” one villager said. “Many refrain from taking blood tests out of fear of finding out they have been infected. Every family of two or three has become inflicted with the virus. Anyone who has taken the test has turned out to be positive. And no one asks this regime, why do you need to test a nine-year-old kid for cholesterol and blood sugar and inflict them with AIDS.”
In Lordegan, regime officials have started blaming each other and refrain from assuming responsibility for the scandal. One regime official blamed the health administrator of the village for the outbreak.
Iranian regime’s officials have also blamed HIV contamination on addicts and sexual immorality in the village. The villagers however, vehemently denyed regime officials’ claims, reiterating that hundreds of people were infected after a diabetes test.
The chairman of the parliamentary Health Commission, Mohammad Hossein Ghorbani, brazenly blamed the residents and women of Chenar Mahmoudi for transmission of this disease, fueling widespread protests by the village’s women and residents. (The state-run ROKNA news agency – October 2, 2019)
Regarding the incident, one of the residents said, “The health ministry came to our village for free blood sugar and insulin tests. The syringes they employed had already been used and were infected with the virus. Anyone who was tested became inflicted with an unknown virus. Some people say it’s HIV. Some say it’s a similar virus. Now, after a few weeks, they’ve brought in a doctor from Tehran to test the residents and figure out which virus it is.”
Another resident said, “Until this moment, 500 people have been tested for HIV and they’re all positive. The health ministry is not assuming responsibility for anything. Officials are saying we didn’t distribute the syringes. The local authorities aren’t taking responsibility either and are blaming central health authorities.”