Global health prize won by jailed Iran doctors
Two doctors from Iran who were jailed three years ago have been awarded a global health prize for their efforts in the treatment of HIV and AIDS.
The brothers Kamiar and Arash Alaei were arrested in 2008 after being accused of conspiring to overthrow the government and the regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
They have now received the Global Health Council's Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights in recognition for their dedication and progress in treating HIV/AIDS.
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In the late 1990s the brothers came up with a three-tier treatment programme for HIV/AIDS which incorporated all aspects of prevention, care and social support.
The project was so successful that after starting in a small clinic in Iran it was replicated across the country and even spread to the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
“It was beyond borders really and the programme became part of the national strategic plan,” Kamiar said in an interview with BBC World Service.
He also explained that due Iran’s unique population demographics there is a big risk that people will contract HIV/AIDS: “Approximately 50% of the general population are between 17 and 27 years old.”
“So we have a huge number of people who are at risk of addiction, injection, sexually transmitted infections and other HIV-related risk factors,” he added.
Kamiar Alaei was released from prison several months ago and was able to collect the award in Washington while his brother continues to serve his six year sentence in the Evin prison in Tehran.