‘More budget needed for supporting HIV/AIDS patients’

December 7, 2018

TEHRAN- The head of AIDS committee at the Welfare Organization has called on the Ministry of Labor, Welfare and Social Security to help increase the budget for HIV/AIDS patients.

Farid Barati-Sadeh said that it is not possible to provide HIV patients with adequate services with current allocations amounting to around $1.4 million, Tasnim news agency reported on Tuesday.  

“According to the five-year AIDS strategic national plan, around $11.9 million was supposed to be appropriated for the purpose, but unfortunately, it was not assigned,” said Barati-Sadeh.

“Over the last year which was the third year of the AIDS strategic national plan, only $700,000 was allocated, and over the current year only a small amount was appropriated,” he said.

“The AIDS strategic national plan has 15 clauses and has defined all the services, activities and expenses attributed to the patients, but the plan is not being carried out because no organization has officially undertaken the task,” he added. 

Barati-Sadeh announced the “positive clubs” affiliated to the Welfare Organization in various provinces are still offering services to people with HIV/AIDS and their family members, but some of them are on the verge of closing down due to budget shortage. 

Positive clubs are tasked to teach the patients techniques for living positively with HIV, creating jobs, conducting recreational activities and partially covering the patient’s medical expenses, Barati-Sadeh highlighted. 

“The AIDS strategic national plan has 15 clauses and has defined all the services, activities and expenses attributed to the patients, but the plan is not being carried out because no organization has officially undertaken the task.”“This year, we were supposed to provide 4,500 patients with services, but due to budget shortage we covered around 4,300 people. Next year, we have to give service to 5,000 according to the AIDS strategic national plan, and we hope we’ll be able to do it,” said Barati-Sadeh.

“Out of the total population diagnosed with HIV, only 5 to 6 thousands have approached the Welfare Organization for receiving services; the rest, were fortunate enough not to need the services or were unable to approach the organization,” he added.

On November 21, Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raeisi announced that annually 2,000 new AIDS/HIV patients are diagnosed and the diagnosis rate is expected to double in future years.

According to Raeisi, the annual costs incurred by every AIDS/HIV patient is around $14,000 to $16,000.

The ministry of health’s center for communicable diseases management has announced that by the end of the previous Iranian calendar year (March 2018) some 37,650 had been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Iran. 

SJ/MQ/MG

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