Iran's health ministry has banned tattooing in a bid to control the "time bomb" of the deadly HIV virus which causes AIDS, the official IRNA news agency reported Sunday.
"There is a time bomb ticking in Iran and we have to take it seriously," Health Minister Mohammad Farhadi said at a Tehran conference ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1.
Tattoos have become a popular fashion accessory among athletes and the nation's well-to-do youth, though the sharp rise in drug use is the greatest cause for concern among authorities here.
Iran is a major transshipment point for narcotics coming from neighbouring Afghanistan and Pakistan destined for the markets of Europe, central Asia and the Gulf.
Some 1,420 people in Iran are infected with the deadly virus, according to official statistics, while unofficial estimates put the figure much higher -- TEHRAN (AFP)
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