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The New Arab

Iran MPs call for investigation over increased HIV cases

Villagers claimed at least 200 people, including children, have contracted HIV [Twitter]

Date of publication: 6 October, 2019

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Residents of one Iranian village say government health officials infected them with HIV by using unsterile needles.
Dozens of Iranian lawmakers have demanded an investigation into violent protests in the central Iranian town of Lordegan.

Demonstrations broke out earlier this week as protesters alleged poor healthcare practices had led to a spate of HIV infections in a nearby village.

Members of parliament demanded a "comprehensive report" on the clashes in a letter on Sunday.

Angry demonstrators attacked the local governor's and health department's offices, accusing them of complicity in the infection of more than 200 people.

Health authorities deny the claims that contaminated syringes used at a local hospital spread the infection, saying instead the increase in HIV cases was the result of unsafe practices by drug addicts and in sexual relationships.

Provincial Governor Eqbal Abbasi told state TV shots had also been fired in the demonstrations, although he did not say by whom.

The Lordegan area is home to the Bakhtiari tribe who traditionally carry hunting rifles, according to The Associated Press.

Several people were wounded and an unspecified number of people detained as part of the protests.

Iranian activists have claimed on social media that more than 200 people, including a number of children, have been contracted HIV due to the use of unsterile syringes in a local hospital.

According to US-funded site Radio Farda, residents of the nearby village of Chenar Mahmoud said they had contracted the disease after their local health organisation used infected needles to test for diabetes two months ago.

Health authorities insist an increase in HIV cases had already been reported before the diabetes testing.

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