Spread of HIV Aids: A Tragic Posture of Society


Spread of HIV Aids: A Tragic Posture of Society

By Zaib Azkaar Hussain


Thousands of citizens in different parts of the country are suffering from HIV and AIDS diseases and that’s horrible situation.

Special Adviser on Health Dr Zafar Mirza himself admitted that the registered cases of HIV in Pakistan were too less in compared to actual cases. He says there are 163,000 HIV and AIDS cases in Pakistan, of which only 25,000 are registered with the national and provincial AIDS control programmes. Ironically only 16,000 patients were getting proper treatment.

Due to a recent shocking development when some 681 people were confirmed positive for HIV out of the 23,174 people tested in the area of Rato Dero (in Sindh Province), the special adviser took a prompt action and declared that a 10-member team of World Health Organization’s (WHO) technical and professional expert were to visit Pakistan to investigate the outbreak of HIV in affected area of Larkana.

More than 2000 people in Gujrat, district of Punjab, were when tested some time back, around 120 were confirmed as affected in this outbreak.

Thousands of residents of Rato Dero —  located 30 kilometres to the north of Larkana when had  gotten themselves screened at one of the six screening camps set up by the provincial health department, in collaboration with other private and government agencies, at least 681 were confirmed positive for HIV. Some 23,174 people were tested on May 25 this year. The tests showed that out of total affected people around 558 patients were children.

The special adviser undertook to mobilise the resources to address the HIV outbreak, when needed. It is high time to mobilise the same resources without further delay. On the other hand a good gesture on the part of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has been noticed as the PPP assured to use every effort to provide free treatment to every affected person.

The special adviser has informed the media that a high-level international rapid response mission was about to visit Pakistan to ascertain the cause of the HIV outbreak, to advise on mitigation measures, and to suggest ways to avoid similar recurrences in future.

Addressing a press conference on the recent HIV outbreak in Ratodero, Dr Zafar Mirza informed that the Regional Director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) had acceded to Pakistan’s request for a thorough investigation into the outbreak, and that a team of top international technical experts is being dispatched to Pakistan for this purpose.

A 10-member response team would consist of experts from WHO and the Centres for Disease Control (CDC).

Dr Zafar Mirza pointed out that the Sindh government, with the assistance of the federal government, has so far carried out blood screening of 21,375 people, of whom 681 have tested positive for HIV.

Dr Zafar mentioned that the “Most striking feature of the outbreak is that of these 631 cases, 537 cases are children in the 2 to 5 years age bracket, followed by children aged between 5-15 years.” He also undertook to provide due treatment to every affected person and to devise a foolproof system for protection people. He underlined the reasons and causes of HIV and Hepatitis outbreaks, adding that reuse of used syringes, use of unscreened blood for transfusion purposes, non-adherence to protocols for infection prevention and control, and unprotected sexual practices were as the key challenges. He said that the use of unsafe injections could be the most likely cause of the Sindh HIV outbreak, unless there was some other hidden causes, which would conclusively be known once investigations have been completed. He declared that major steps would shortly be announced to eliminate the causes for such disease outbreaks. He stated that Prime Minister Imran Khan wias due to make a major announcement on health within the next two weeks.

On the other hand, the Sindh government has been arguing the decision of taking of control of three hospitals of Karachi by the federal government. The PPP leadership is also opposing the decision and has hinted at rejecting the orders of the federal government in this regard. However it is hoped that the matter of provision of quick treatment to HIV and AIDS patients would not suffer and a quick treatment would be ensured jointly by the provincial government and the federal government.




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