World AIDS Day: K-P in concentrated phase of epidemic, say doctors

Government to hold awareness walks and other activities .


Our Correspondent November 30, 2015
Government to hold awareness walks and other activities .

PESHAWAR:


Pakistan is in a “concentrated phase” of the HIV/AIDs epidemic, said Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) deputy programme manager for the disease, Dr Attaullah Khan, at Peshawar Press Club on Monday. He issued this statement ahead of World AIDS Day which falls on December 1 (today).


“It means that it (the disease) is concentrated among certain population groups such as drug users that make up 27.2% of the total cases, while men and women sex workers account for 1.6% and 0.6%, respectively.”

According to UNAIDS, in this epidemiological scenario, “HIV prevalence is high enough in one or more sub-populations…but the virus is not circulating in the general population.” The website adds, “The future course of an epidemic of this type will be determined by the size of the vulnerable sub-population[s] and the frequency and nature of links between sub-populations and the general population and the degree of response to the needs of the affected and most vulnerable populations.”

Prevalence

Attaullah added there are 1,816 HIV positive cases registered in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and 1,349 of those are men, 391 women and 76 children.



Hayatabad Medical Complex Programme Coordinator Dr Idress Khan said besides K-P, HIV positive cases are also reported in the Federal Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with 378 cases registered. These include 82 from Kurram Agency, 22 in Orakzai, 54 in South Waziristan, 119 in North Waziristan, 62 in Khyber Agency, 21 in Mohmand Agency and 18 in Bajaur Agency. Khan added that 164 Afghans had also been registered.

On-ground efforts

Talking about the K-P government’s efforts to tackle the disease, the doctor said they were providing free medicines and HIV testing facilities. He added Rs500 million was allocated to further expand the service at the district level.

However, doctors at the press conference said there was an urgent need to raise awareness among the masses to prevent this disease from spreading. Therefore, on December 1, awareness walks and other activities will be organised.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 1st,  2015.

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