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The Muslim Face of AIDS
By Nicholas Eberstadt and Laura M. Kelley
Foreign Policy | July 7, 2005
On a cold December evening in the southern Iranian city of Kerman, the stars blazed overhead as a father took his sons life. Enraged, and with an ax in hand, the head of a prominent Iranian family chopped his child to pieces for bringing shame upon his relatives. The sons crime? Contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In a country where, in some parts, nearly 60 percent of HIVpositive citizens take their own lives within the first year of their diagnosis, the 23-year-old son faced little chance of acceptance, even from his family.
That tragic story is just one of the many being told as the deadly contagion unfolds across the massive Islamic expanse, from Morocco to the Philippines. In the years immediately ahead, the AIDS pandemic will exact a grim toll on a number of vulnerable populations with volatile politiesplaces unlikely to cope with the significant social stresses and economic burdens that AIDS can cause.