HIV/AIDS: Pakistan has one of Asia’s highest HIV prevalence rates

Published: August 27, 2011

New UNAIDS report urges more investment into national response to tackle aid.

KARACHI: 

Pakistan is among the 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific which houses a majority of the people infected with HIV, according to a new report from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

Neighbouring India and China are also on the list, which includes Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and Vietnam.

Launched at the 2011 International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP), the report, titled HIV in Asia and the Pacific: “Getting to Zero”, found that more people than ever before have access to HIV services across the region. But most countries in the region are a long way from achieving universal access goals for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

According to UNAIDS, HIV prevalence in Pakistan nearly doubled from 11% in 2005 to 21% in 2008. The greatest source of a spread in the virus was use of drug injections and the UNAIDS says that an estimated one in five people who inject drugs in Pakistan are HIV-positive.

Across the region, the report states, stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and populations at higher risk of infection remain rife. About 90% of the countries in the region retain punitive laws and policies that effectively prevent people living with HIV from accessing life-saving HIV services.

Data suggest that a significant proportion of new HIV infections within key populations are among young people under the age of 25. In most settings, HIV prevention programmes are failing to sufficiently reach young people most at risk.

More AIDS resources urgently needed

The AIDS response in Asia and the Pacific is underfunded, the report found. Pakistan, it states, is among the five countries that funds the bulk of its HIV response from domestic sources but many countries in Asia depend heavily on foreign funding, particularly for the provision of antiretroviral therapy.

Increased investment of domestic resources, especially in middle-income countries, is critical for the ongoing regional response to HIV, says UNAIDS.

“Getting to zero new HIV infections in Asia and the Pacific will demand national responses based on science and the best available evidence,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé. “HIV programmes must be sufficiently resourced and solidly focused on key populations. Investments made today will pay off manifold in the future.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (22)

  • Aadersh
    Aug 27, 2011 - 11:10AM

    BTW India is at top..

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  • Rational Mind
    Aug 27, 2011 - 1:23PM

    Thanks a lot for giving projection to unauthentic data…….doctors do not agree to this claim of highest AIDS/HIV ratio………Recommend

  • Dr,A.K.Tewari
    Aug 27, 2011 - 4:26PM

    People of Pakistan will not accept the findings of the report because most of them will say that the religious provision of circumcision is there to protect them .where as its impact is jus oposite .

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  • Rehan
    Aug 27, 2011 - 4:28PM

    How hard is this to fix (no pun intended)? Just wear a condom!!!
    Regards,
    Rehan

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  • Truth Prevails
    Aug 27, 2011 - 5:55PM

    @Dr,A.K.Tewari:
    Yes this article is 100% correct .. India has the biggest number of AIDS patient

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  • pardesi
    Aug 27, 2011 - 5:55PM

    @ Aadersh

    it is because India is 5.5 times more populated than pakistan. but in India, there is awareness and in cidences are getting reduced. What is the status in Pakistan. Nobody will accept there that AIDS is a grave issue. That is more dangerous.

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  • freeman
    Aug 27, 2011 - 7:26PM

    @Dr,A.K.Tewari:
    I am Pakistani and i beleive on this report but DR. A. K Tewari you have a mindset about Pakistan. But India is top of ALL countries in this region who have Higher rate of HIV / AID. I beleive most people are infected in Karachi or couple of other big cities only. Our Populations 65% are living in Villages who are still safe.

    I think Govt. should take more positive steps to tackle this issue.

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  • freeman
    Aug 27, 2011 - 7:35PM

    @pardesi:
    My dear those days has gone when people were not awareabout of HIV/AID in Pakistan. People now have lots of information here as well. It is a seriouely grave issue.

    What is the benefits of awareness in india still HIV/AID is on the increase.

    It became habit of indian people whenever they read any news about Pakistan on the internet they just flog on that forum or news blog and start commenting about the Pakistan like an opportunists start to through dirt.

    If criticism is genuine then we should all respect that and take it positively but if they want to become the part of the dirt and become opportunists then we know what is in their mind.

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  • Dr.joe
    Aug 27, 2011 - 7:51PM

    In India jus 0.38% of population is infected with HIV.

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  • goggi
    Aug 27, 2011 - 8:48PM

    Pakistani society is a repressive society as far as sexual behaviour is concerned. Women are kept under lock and key and the frustrated men are delivered to unnatural life-styles. Drug abuse and homosexuality are such widespread diseases of our society, and the later a very taboo topic of the society. Both the diseases can be a cause of HIV infection. If we visit a psychologist for some mental treatment, the first condition is the “confession” of that particular problem. As long as the public don´t confess openly and honestly without the fear of being persecuted from the law, there are no chances of awareness for diseases like HIV or hepatitis.

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  • Freeman
    Aug 27, 2011 - 10:32PM

    @Dr.joe: Some of india’s areas have over 21% population infected.

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  • Dr,A.K.Tewari
    Aug 27, 2011 - 10:34PM

    @ freeman ? The article recently apeared in TE on female genital mutilation .has a number of comments , plz, go through it to know that why people have such mindset about pakistan .

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  • Freeman
    Aug 27, 2011 - 10:40PM

    @goggi:
    Increase of Hepatitis in Pakistan is not only becasue of the sex. It also related with the dirty water supplies.

    In india Homosextuality is also wide spread. Do you think in indian people talk openly that they are Homosexual.

    I believe in Pakistani big city Karachi has more percentage. In total percentage is less than than 0.1% Pakistan. But it is a seriously and big problem.

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  • bling bling
    Aug 27, 2011 - 10:51PM

    after fake vaccine program, lets have fake HIV treatment programs

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  • blah blah
    Aug 28, 2011 - 12:04AM

    @bling bling:

    the ever best comment i have ever go thorough with… .

    they are doing nothing except demoralizing the nation and the youth by presenting these types of fake reports..

    i really appreciate you highlighted the matter in this aspect and spoke the truth in the manner that it really make me to made comment on…

    regards, an please try to open the shuteye of the nation on every platform.

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  • Muhammad Abdullah
    Aug 28, 2011 - 2:08AM

    here we go with the India-Pakistan debate. get over it people and start to realize bigger issues. both countries have this problem, discuss on eradication and not who is worst.

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  • ahmed
    Aug 28, 2011 - 3:19AM

    Well its obvious.. China and India have largest population in Asia followed by Indonesia and Pakistan , its just simple probability that these countries will contain most cases of Aids and toothache

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  • Freeman
    Aug 28, 2011 - 3:31AM

    @Dr,A.K.Tewari: I have never ever heard this before that in Pakistan this is happening. Bohra people are very rear in Pakistan. They are not even 00.0018% of Pakistani Population.

    99.99% of population does not believe instead this is inhuman act. I strongly comdemn it. I still believe this is something which writer who is from india has exaggirated it. She tried to show that this is happening wide spread. Islam has nothing to with this. If someone is doing it they should get complete punishment for the barbrian act.

    As I always says after 9/11 Pakistan became bad even one person out 180 million does something wrong than whole Pakistan is bad.

    Look at the india itself million of un-born baby girls has been killed. Still india is good?

    I am not against any indian but on the net where there is an article about Pakistan – Indian instantly flog and start to give bad comments and forget their own countries issues and problems. They do not want to leave opportunity. India is a big country with big issues and problems than Pakistan.

    Pakistan’s problems will be resolved as soon we will have good Government. Also when Afghan war will be ended. At this moment we have a very corrupt Govt.

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  • Dr,A.K.Tewari
    Aug 28, 2011 - 9:22AM

    @ freeman ? how will you get a good government ? Most of you will select a candidate who will talk about Kashmir and Afghanistan and not about the negative aspects of the distorted Islam . Now after USA you are prepared to sit in the lap of Chacha China with a malafied intension against India ! Do you think that you can live peacefuly through anti India move ?it in the lap of Chacha China with a malafied intension against India ! Do you think that you can live peacefuly through anti India move ?

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Aug 28, 2011 - 10:22AM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.This is all happening in the world as a consequences of disobeying the Quran and Sunnah because this is clearly defined in Quran that protect your chastity,honor,dignity and grace and never go near to the vulgarity even open or hidden.

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  • Ramnath
    Aug 29, 2011 - 2:39PM

    There seem to be gross errors in the data cited in this article. According to the UNAIDS and UNICEF website, the HIV prevalence in the general population in Pakistan is currently 0.1%. Even if this prevalence has doubled, that would make the currently prevalence 0.2%. This is a huge difference from the prevalences of 11% and 21% cited in this article. It might be that the prevalence of HIV in injection drug users is approaching 21%; however, this is a very high risk group. A 21% prevalence in injection drug users is very different from a 21% prevalence in the general population.

    This is not to say that the current prevalence estimates might not be significantly understated, nor am I saying that greater efforts shouldn’t be made to curb the HIV epidemic in Pakistan. However, it is crucial that these newspaper articles get the statistics correct, rather than incorrectly citing data in an alarmist fashion. I would recommend that you publish a correction to this article immediately.

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  • Sajjad Hussain
    Oct 19, 2011 - 9:53AM

    Stop mud slinging.Concentrate on how reduce/treat AIDS and hepatitis effectively in both the countries.

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