HIV/AIDS crisis

Published on – December 3, 2019 – 7:00 am
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In other countries, HIV/AIDS cases are on the decline, there has been a worrying upsurge of the disease in Pakistan as world are observed World AIDS Day to acknowledge the role of communities in dealing with and controlling the spread of the deadly virus. The number of new HIV infections has declined globally over the past decade, Pakistan remains one of the few regional countries to witness an increasing number of cases.


In other countries, HIV/AIDS cases are on the decline, there has been a worrying upsurge of the disease in Pakistan as world are observed World AIDS Day to acknowledge the role of communities in dealing with and controlling the spread of the deadly virus. The number of new HIV infections has declined globally over the past decade, Pakistan remains one of the few regional countries to witness an increasing number of cases. This day should be a sobering moment for the country’s health authorities who keep grappling with an increasing number of HIV/AIDS cases even in the midst of a global decline. This year, the World AIDS Day is really important for Pakistan after the discovery of a number of HIV/AIDS cases in the town of Ratodero in Sindh. While in Balochistan as AIDS patient have reached on 6000 in the most impoverished province ringing alarm bell to control the most notorious virus in the province.  The new revelation unveiled on Saturday by Deputy Director Health Dr. Kamalan Gichki and Manager Provincial Aids Control Program Dr. Afazal Zarkoon.  “Following the burgeoning number of aids patients in Balochistan, health department has embarked awareness program across Balochistan from 20th November.”

“Total 6000 aids patients are registered among 1339 were registered during 2019 while 1035 cases reported in the provincial capital Quetta.  Increasing cases among pregnant women added as compare with last year 50 cases tested positive in women about to give birth. Provincial Aids Control Program established screening centers in 30 districts of Balochistan in order to prevent the virus while treatment centers are functional in Turbat and Quetta.” Dr. Zarkoon added announced to establish new centers in five districts of the province. He further revealed that 35 prisoners in province’s nine prisons tested positive with HIV aids stressed upon more awareness among masses through religious scholars, media and teachers.  The discovery of 320 cases in Punjab districts in October alone emphasises the fact that a mass screening needs to be held across Pakistan as each of us should know our HIV/AIDS status.   For years, health researchers have been warning of the potential threat of an HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country, but an ostrich-like attitude and inability to talk about things as they are has resulted in the issue aggravating over the years. Because HIV/AIDS is still associated with what is condemned as socially deviant sexual activity, stigma surrounds the topic in our largely conservative society.

HIV/AIDS was understood to be more prevalent amongst marginalised communities without access to treatment, such as the transgender population, drug addicts and commercial sex workers, but there is reason to believe it is increasingly spilling into the general population.  the World AIDS Day was hardly acknowledged in Pakistan as the people would regard HIV/AIDS as a sub-Saharan African problem or a remote disease. Our continuous disregard to the disease and precautionary ignorance has delivered it at our doorstep. Pakistan lacks data on deaths from the infectious killer but worldwide, HIV/AIDS remains the leading life taker. According to UNAID, there are 160,000 HIV positive people in Pakistan, and they are those who are registered with the state-run AIDS control programme. The number could be worse as many even do not know if they are infected or not, thanks to prevailing ignorance about the disease and the shortage of testing and screening facilities across the country. Most were unaware they had the disease until they underwent screenings while donating blood, travelling abroad or undergoing surgery. In a culture of shame and silence, and in the absence of a nationwide HIV/AIDS awareness programme, few know the facts about their illness or how to ask for help until it is too late.