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Afghanistan's double-edged problem - AIDS and Heroin

Between 2001 and 2006, the number of AIDS cases reported from strife-torn Afghanistan, have grown from a manageable 8 to a formidable 61. //The increasing use of heroin has raised concern amongst health authorities as a significant cause of abetting the spread of AIDS in the nation.

Anti-narcotics Minister Mohammad Zafar explained how the number of heroin users in Kabul has gone up from 7,000 in 2003, to 14,000 in 2005.

'Forty to 50 percent of refugees use heroin and 20 to 30 percent hashish. There is a problem because production is always rising. The drug mafia, which could not be operating without protection at a high level, is everywhere and always wants to produce and sell more.' Zafar said.

The people to watch out for, is the injection drug users, who could be the reason behind the spread of AIDS. It was found that nearly 10 drug users share a syringe. According to the Health Minister, Saifour Rehman, 61 confirmed AIDS cases have been reported as on date. There are fears that the disease could spread like wild fire, since many of the drug users regularly visit sex workers.

Health experts are propagating the importance of wearing a condom, by spearheading the AIDS 'ABC'campaign; an acronym for Abstinence, Be faithful and wear a Condom. In a country where religion intrinsic advice goes a long way, the ‘Be faithful' piece of advice may just hit the nail on the head!

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