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Islamabad

MQ
Muhammad Qasim
December 7, 2017

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2,834 HIV positive patients registered at PIMS

2,834 HIV positive patients registered at PIMS

Islamabad: The Centre for Treatment of AIDS at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences has registered as many as 207 new patients with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) positive and AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) so far in 2017 taking the total number of HIV and AIDS patients to 2,834 since its establishment.
Data collected by ‘The News’ on Wednesday has revealed that the PIMS centre for treatment and prevention of AIDS that was established in 2005 by National Aids Control Programme had registered a total of 2,250 patients with HIV positive and AIDS till December 2015 while in last two years, it registered another 584 patients with the problem.
The AIDS centre at PIMS registered nearly 322 patients with HIV positive and AIDS in 2015, 355 patients in 2016 and in 2017, it registered 207 patients so far. It is found that the social stigma is still the biggest hurdle for a number of patients to have treatment of HIV and AIDS at a public sector healthcare facility which is alarming.
Data also reveals that of the total patients so far registered with AIDS centre at PIMS having HIV positive, as many as 2,337 are males, 418 are females, male child patients are 27 while female child patients are 22. The total also includes as many as 21 patients having transgender status.
Of the newly registered HIV positive patients in 2017, male patients are 164, female patients are 28, male child patients are two and female child patients are four. It is important to mention that in 2016, the centre registered as many as 355 new HIV positive patients including 302 males, 40 females, five male child patients and six female child patients apart from two patients with transgender status.
It has been found that of the total HIV positive male patients registered with the PIMS in last two years, over 80 per cent are drug addicts, said Deputy Director at PIMS Dr. Waseem Ahmed Khawaja while talking to ‘The News’ on Wednesday.
He said that well over 1,500 patients who are suffering from full blown AIDS are on antiretroviral drugs treatment for aids and of these over 900 patients are injecting drug users (IDUs). All the patients with HIV positive do not need antiviral treatment instead only the patients who have developed AIDS are receiving the antiviral treatment of AIDS at the PIMS Center, he said.
It is important that AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection. It can take 10-15 years for an HIV-infected person to develop AIDS. AIDS is the end-stage of HIV infection – usually person dies in six months. There is no vaccine or specific treatment of AIDS; however, antiretroviral drugs (ART) can slow down the progress and people with HIV can enjoy healthy and productive lives.
Dr. Khawaja said that almost all diagnostic tests including screening for HIV and AIDS are provided free of cost to all patients at PIMS and the timing of AIDS clinic located near Medical OPD at the hospital is from 8a.m. to 2p.m.
Professor Dr. Naila Waqar and Professor Rizwan Qazi are taking care of Aids patients and it is important that names of all patients are kept confidential so that patients should not feel any hesitation while coming for treatment, said Dr. Khawaja.
He added that the catchment area of the PIMS centre includes almost all major cities of the country though greater number of patients has been reported from Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Attock, Gujarat, Lahore, Mandi Bahauddin, Peshawar, Kohat, Mardan, Boner, Quetta, Zoab, Larkana, Nawabshah and areas from Gilgit-Baltaistan.

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