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December 7, 2017



World AIDS Day: Experts call for awareness about HIV

PESHAWAR: Health experts have stressed the need for creating awareness about human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), saying people in Pakistan were either unaware of their infection or hiding it due to social and cultural taboos.
They were speaking at a seminar organised by the Department of Community Medicine of Northwest School of Medicine.
The event was held in connection with the World AIDS Day aimed- at creating awareness among the people about the virus and its prevention.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Director General Health and Services Dr Mohammad Ayub Rose attended the event as chief guest.
Dr Ayub Rose said that about 133,000 people in Pakistan were infected with HIV but the total number of registered HIV/AIDS patients since 1992 was 3,222 across the country. 
It is believed that nearly 80 percent of the HIV was spread in Pakistan through Injection Drug Use (IDU), including unprotected sex, use of used syringes and expatriates infected in the Middle East.
It is estimated that the number of HIV positive persons in Punjab reached 64,000 followed by Sindh with 56,000.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has about 8,500 HIV positive patients while the number touched nearly 3,000 in Balochistan.
There are no records available for Fata, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, said Dr Ayub Rose.
Karachi remains the city with highest number of HIV patients where the estimates suggest that at least 24,000 persons carried the virus.
He said there was no treatment for this disease but prevention was the only way.
?The DG Health said there were only two specialised centres for HIV/AIDS at the Hayatabad Medical Complex in Peshawar and Kohat.
He said with the help of international organisation, they would soon ?set up a third dedicated centre at the Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar.
Earlier, Dr Riaz Gul, Head of Community Medicine spoke about the importance of public health awareness for prevention from various diseases.
Dr Ijaz Hassan Khattak

lauded the KP government’s efforts in making health as a priority in the province.
Maimoona Noor, director of All Women Advancement and Resource Development (AWARD), presented facts and figures about HIV/AIDS. She noted that HIV spread mostly through four types of body fluids, namely fluids from male and female during intercourse, body fluids, blood transfusion and breastfeeding.
Maimoona said that HIV infection was immediately contagious and early treatment was must for stopping the virus from further spreading.
She said many people infected with HIV had no symptoms for 10 years or more, saying the? virus can be detected three months after infection through various tests.
However, she said that further tests should be performed six months after detection to confirm the virus.
She said that poverty, abuse, stigma and discrimination were some of the main reasons behind non-disclosure of the disease by the patients.
Dr Adil Zareef, chief organiser of the event, thanked the officials and participants. “We are committed to providing quality health services to the people in KP and Fata. We take pride in promoting awareness about health issues,” he added.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), an estimated 36.7 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2016. 
Since its discovery, AIDS has caused an estimated 39 million deaths till 2014. Though there were about 300,000 fewer new HIV cases in 2016, the number of newly infected persons stood at a staggering 1.8 million worldwide.