Iran, Women
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New app breaks silence on sexual health in Iran

In Iran, talking about sex is still a taboo and there is little to no sexual education in schools. To help bridge the gap, an Iranian activist has launched Hamdam, the first Persian-language application that provides information about sexual health. Its target audience is women, who face some of the most serious risks.

Sexual education is not systematically taught in schools or even universities in Iran. As might be expected, Iranians living in low-income areas have even less access to information. According to our Observers, this lack of knowledge contributes to increased health risks, especially for women, and higher numbers of unwanted pregnancies.

According to a 2015 survey, more than 33 percent of boys and 27 percent of girls under the age of 18 in Iran have had sexual relations with a partner of the same or opposite sex.

“Anything related to women’s bodies is taboo”

Soudeh Rad, founder of the Hamdam app, is an Iranian women’s rights activist who lives in France. She says this app provides women with “information and services that are not forbidden in Iran, but that are not available because they are politically or socially taboo.”

“In Iran, anything related to women’s bodies is taboo. I recognized that there was an urgent need for education about women’s sexual health, which gave me the idea for this app.

I decided to develop an app because the Iranian population is very young and the majority of them spend many hours every day looking at apps on their phones [Editor’s note: According to official statistics, 23.5 million Iranians, out of a population of 80 million, use internet on their phones]. I built it for Android systems because that is most common in Iran.

We designed this app to be very secure– information stays in the host device. It also works without internet.”

Initially published on France24 on 04/21/2017
Read the full story here.

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