TEHRAN, 5 December 2005- Iranian HIV positives have been given the chance to speak on national television channels about critical issues on HIV/AIDS and related to World AIDS Day.
For the first time in the region a woman living with HIV/AIDS appeared unmasked on TV channel 2 during a talk show on 30 Nov. She spoke up frankly about her status and said: “I am glad of having the opportunity to talk to a lot of my people because I became HIV positive for the lack of knowledge. I have tried since the first day of knowing my status to deliver true and accurate information about HIV/AIDS to everyone.” When being asked about why she decided to sit faced to the camera, she replied: ”I want to say that HIV/AIDS is not like that many people imagine, the public should realize PLWHAs are not isolated from the society and are prosperous, that is the reason I am here”
She added: “All HIV positive persons that I know have the courage to declare their status when they go for receiving heath services like dentistry, but they are often misbehaved. This should be changed, they should practice universal precautions for everyone not just for PLWHAs, considering the majority of HIV positives who don’t know their status themselves.”
She talked about catching HIV from her husband while he was an intravenous drug user. She told the interviewer: “However, it is not important how any one is infected, we should respect every person living with HIV/AIDS and no one should be blamed since no one has caught HIV knowingly. PLWHAs have the right to keep their route of transmission secret.”
The “Image of Life” talk show is a popular program which has a countrywide air/satellite broadcasting and also is webcasted live.
This special broadcast was organized by Policymaking Council for Health at Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Corp. (IRIB) and AIDS foundation ofIran. There are other planned programs with participation of PLWHAs which cover World AIDS Day theme and HIV/AIDS issues on IRIB TV and Radio channels during national week of communication about HIV/AIDS (1-7 Dec).