A "volcanic explosion of AIDS" threatens the Islamic Republic, warns Iran's health minister, as "immoral behaviour" increases among its people.
"Seven percent of those who have AIDS have been infected because of immoral behaviour and attitudes and because of a rise in such dangerous behaviour. In the future, we could have a volcanic explosion of AIDS in our country," Marzieh Vahid Dastjurdi said at a seminar on AIDS, according to ISNA news agency.
Currently, 22,000 Iranians have been infected by AIDS, she said, adding that the actual figure could be around 80,000 as "generally in the world the actual figure is four times more" than the registered one.
The estimated number "is not high if we compared it with world figures, but it is high for our culture," said Dastjurdi, the only woman in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's cabinet.
"Studies showed that 50 percent of (prostitutes) are infected by AIDS and they can infect others."
Iran has been taking steps to fight the spread of AIDS by making condoms easily available in shops and educating the people of consequences of sex with multiple partners.