Recently released statistics show that 7,574 cases of people carrying the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have been reported in Pakistan. Out of them, 4,516 are in Sindh alone. Around 147 deaths have been recorded.
These figures were revealed by the provincial manager of AIDS Control Programme, Dr Abdul Jabbar Shaikh, at a seminar titled “Workshop with Uniformed Personnel” at the police headquarters in Sukkur on Monday. The aim of the seminar was to create awareness about the condition among policemen.
Dr Shaikh acknowledged the tight schedules of policemen, which keep them from their homes for long periods of times, may tempt some of them to resort to unsafe intercourse. In addition to police personnel, drug addicts and people with multiple sex partners, prisoners, sailors and truck drivers are also at a higher risk of getting infected by HIV. So far, 14 HIV cases have been reported in Sukkur, but none of them have showed symptoms related to AIDS yet.
Since the treatment for AIDS is quite complicated, prevention is the best and the easiest option available for people. People with HIV/AIDS should not purchase prescription medicines from the market, since they can get them for free from hospitals.
He said that the symptoms begin to appear around seven years of contracting the HIV virus and this is why AIDS is also called the silent killer. Unsafe sex, use of unsterilised syringes and other instruments by drug addicts, surgeons and dentists alike and transfusion of unscreened blood can transmit the virus, while it can also be passed on to the baby from its mother.
While telling the audience a bit about the history of the condition, Shaikh said that an African sailor was the first person to be diagnosed with the disease on Pakistani soil, in 1986.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 6th, 2012.