Pakistan sees alarming rise in HIV cases

Pakistan sees alarming rise in HIV cases

Pakistan experiences a sudden hike in HIV cases since last 10 months. At least 9,773 people tested positive for HIV since February 2022. Cases of HIV are reported from all four provinces as well as from the capital city, Islamabad, Azadi Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.

It has been observed that HIV cases is now spreading from key population to general public as almost 1000 positive cases per month are being reported from all over the country. Key population has becoming a source of spread and it includes people who inject drugs, male, female and transgender sex worker, as said by health authorities in the capital citing the official data.

Punjab has seen to have the highest number of positive cases with a dangerous count of 6106 infected cases from January to October 2022. Sindh being the second with 2097 cases on average. Similarly 815, 316 and 496 positive cases have been reported from Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, Balochistan and Islamabad capital Territory (ICT) respectively in current year till October 31, 2022.

Read More: Pakistan bans conventional disposable syringes to contain HIV

Despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars from international funds and other international donor agencies for the prevention and contain of HIV in Pakistan, there is a continuous rise in the number of HIV cases up to AN alarming extent. As per the reports from UNAIDS a significant number of low risk males, females and clients of key population are the new infected people. This suggests that the infection has been spread to bridging population from key population.

According to specialist of infectious diseases, Dr Faisal Mehmood who is associated with Agha Khan University Hospital (AKUH), the major reasons of this rapid spread of infection is that for the first time such a large number of tests have been done. Second most obvious reason is men having sex with men (MSM) and the poor infection control and prevention aids in spread of the disease. He also said that health care system is one of the culprits in spread of the HIV and warned by saying that if the spread of the disease in not controlled it may result in millions of positive cases within no time just like HCV which has same means of spread as HIV.

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