ISLAMABAD: The number of HIV/AIDS patients in Pakistan currently stands at 165,000, according to statistics provided by the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP). Alone this year, 9,565 new cases were reported.
Very recently, on December 1, the government observed World AIDS Day to raise awareness on the AIDS pandemic.
“Only 36,902 people are registered with the NACP. Of which, around 20,994 are undergoing treatment,” says the data. As many as 6,426 people contracted the disease after administering drugs from contagious syringes.
“There are 18,220 male and 4,170 female patients – including 546 male children and 426 female children – registered with the NACP.”
During the year, Rato Dero, a small area in Larkana city of Sindh, alone reported 895 cases of AIDS. Of which, 754 constitute children and 141 adults.
From April to November 30, about 37,558 people had undergone HIV screening in Larkana. Out of which 1,195 were reported with suspected presence of the virulent germs. Such samples were later transferred to the HIV Treatment Centre, where it was confirmed that 895 people are living with the HIV/ AIDS.
The NACP data further states, at the end of 2018, the number of registered AIDS affected patients was 23,757 out of which 15,821 were receiving treatment.
On the other hand, according to a report issued by the United Nations AIDS Control Program last year, the number of AIDS patients in Pakistan had increased alarmingly over the past two decades.
The estimated number of patients during the year 2000 was just 500, which increased to more than 160,000. The total number of deaths cause by the disease till 2000 was only 100 that shoot-up to 6,400 in 2018.
In 2000, the number of patients registered for AIDS in Pakistan was 200, which had risen up to 22,000 in 2018.
As per the report, 14 per cent of the AIDS patients are aware of the disease, but 10 per cent of the patients were having self-treatment. Out of 160,000 patients, over 48,000 were women.
The prevalence of the life-threatening disease among addicts was reported to be 21 per cent, while homosexuals had a rate of 3.7 per cent, transgender persons of 5.5 per cent, and sex workers of 3.8 per cent.
Moreover, the health ministry officials said that the number of AIDS cases reported in Pakistan was lower than the actual number. Very few people get proper treatment for AIDS, which increases it prevalence, they said.
The officials said that there is a stigma related to the disease in Pakistan and stressed that more awareness should be created among the masses.