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 Sex-related illnesses increase in Iraq's Kurdistan

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Sex-related illnesses increase in Iraq's Kurdistan  31.10.2010  
By Hemin Baban

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October 31, 2010

ERBIL-HewlÍr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', ó The number of sex-related and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV has been sizably increasing here in the northern region of Kurdistan in Iraq in the past few years, according to the regionís Ministry of Health.

Dr. Khals Qadir, director of the Media and Public Relations of the Ministry of Health, told Rudaw that there were already 76 registered persons affected with HIV/Aids in Kurdistan.

"Only 10 of them are citizens of Kurdistan," added Qadir. "2 of them have died."

According to Kurdistan's Ministry of Health, the affected people with different sexual deceases number 5000-10,000, a number considered "normal" by Qadir, the Health Ministry official.                     

Sex-related illnesses increase in Iraq's Kurdistan

However, he admits that the statistics are not exact and the number of patients could be higher.

"There are some kinds of disease of which we have no statistic," Qadir said.

"The largest segment of the patients is made up of youths and important people of the Kurdish society."

Qadir sees 8 reasons for the increase of sex-related diseases in the region. They include the increase of the population size, the opening of the Kurdistan's borders for free trade with foreign countries,
www.ekurd.netthe increase of prostitution phenomenon, the increase of the trafficking of Kurds abroad, the increasing use of drugs, bringing in foreign workers and the development of tourism.

The official statistics say that the most common sex-related diseases are hepatitis B and C, two infectious and often fatal illnesses that infect the liver.

Experts say that the former is easily transmitted through sexual intercourse while the latter has a very lesser possibility.

They also point to a sizable increase in the cases of people with infectious hepatitis B and C since 2007, when there were only 621 cases of and 283 cases respectively.

But this year did the number surge to 1370 people with infectious hepatitis B and 446 with infectious hepatitis C.

Dr. Saba Ali Rasheed, an expert in skin diseases, said that there are an increasing number of genital herpes, a sexually transmitted disease in women, as well.

Kurdistan, which has relative safety and stability that you donít find elsewhere in Iraq, has increasingly attracted foreign businessmen and tourists since the overthrow of Saddam Husseinís regime in 2003.  

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