On Wednesday October 10, Jan Miyasaki interviewed brothers Dr. Kamiar Alaei, MD, MPH, MS and Dr. Arash Alaei, MD. Dr. Kamiar Alaei will be speaking tonight at the Pyle Center.
Dr. Kamiar Alaei, who is an expert on HIV/AIDS and international and human rights, and his brother Dr. Arash Alaei founded the first triangular clinic for drug users HIV patients and STD cases in Iran. Their work, which has been extended into neighboring Afghanistan and Tajikistan, has been acknowledged by the World Health Organization as the “best practice model” in the region.
The triangular clinic was designed as a community-based model, with which they integrated prevention care and social support. Rather than approaching policy makers, they decided to address the target-group: those living with HIV/AIDS. Dr. Alaei describes the Iranian government’s response to the HIV epidemic, “the policymakers stigmatized the HIV/AIDS from the beginning, and they highlighted that it is a western disease.” They believed that Iran, being a Muslim nation, did not face this problem. Though incidence reports increased, policymakers continued to ignore the issue.
The Alaei brothers were instrumental in developing a major health proposal that was awarded $16 million by the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS. Despite their work in public health and efforts spent with individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS, the brothers were imprisoned by the Iranian government in 2008. Citing their travel around the world to attend international AIDS conferences as the grounds for this charge, the government charged the brothers as conspiring to work with a “foreign enemy government” to overthrow the government of Iran.
Drs. Kamiar and Arash Alaei will speak on the UW Madison campus Wednesday, October 10, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. The event is at the Pyle Center on 702 Langdon St. It is free and open to the public.