Thursday December 12, 2019

International Team Arrives in Pakistan to Probe HIV Outbreak

But national and international experts were not satisfied with the investigations so far largely being carried out by experts from the University of Karachi

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AIDS, Indonesia, HIV
Students with their faces painted with messages pose during an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign to mark the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, in Chandigarh, India, May 20, 2018. (VOA)

An international team, comprising experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), Center for Disease Control (CDC), Unicef and Unaids, will arrive in Pakistan on Tuesday to probe the latest HIV outbreak in Sindh province.

“Led-by Oliver Morgan, Director of Health Emergency Information and Risk Assessment, in the Health Emergencies Programme of WHO, a 12-member international team comprising experts from CDC Atlanta, Georgia, Unicef and Unaids is landing today in Karachi to investigate the root cause of the latest HIV outbreak in Ratodero area of Larkana”, an official of the WHO told The News International.

As of Monday, 700 people including 576 children were tested positive for HIV since the outbreak was first reported on April 25.

HIV patients take part in an awareness session at Pakistan Society, a nongovernmental organization drop-in center, in Karachi, Nov. 30, 2013. Pixabay

The Sindh health department blamed “quacks” or unqualified practitioners for reusing syringes which is one of the major source of HIV spread among the general population, especially children.

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But national and international experts were not satisfied with the investigations so far largely being carried out by experts from the University of Karachi.

Fearing a ‘foul play’ in the recent HIV outbreak in Larkana, officials associated with the international health organisations said that although the “reuse of syringes” was emerging as “most likely cause of HIV outbreak” in Larkana, epidemiologists both in Pakistan as well as around the globe were not “satisfied” and have several questions as to why such a large number of children are infected, which is an unusual pattern. (IANS)

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More Than 7,000 People in Afghanistan Infected with HIV: WHO Report

Another HIV patient Omar, said: "If we go to hospitals and tell them that we have HIV Aids, they don't treat us."

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WHO
A study by WHO revealed that most of the European women with HIV are diagnosed at a late stage. Wikimedia Commons

Some 7,200 people in Afghanistan were estimated to be HIV positive, according to figures released by the the World Health Organization (WHO).

Marking World Aids Day, the WHO on Sunday called for a broader public awareness campaign in Afghanistan to deal with the issue, reports TOLO News.

But the Afghan Ministry of Public Health said that it registered only 2,883 cases of HIV in the country.

“According to our statistics, there are 2,883 cases of HIV registered in the country. The 7,200 cases reported by the World Health Organization are only an estimate,” said Fida Mohammad Paikan, deputy minister of public health.

AIDS and HIV
Stimulation of the wound healing response during early infection could have a protective effect against disease like AIDS from the HIV infection. Pixabay

Referring to factors behind the spread of the virus, Paikan said: “Last year the Ministry of Public Health registered 183 cases of HIV, and the figure has decreased to 150 new cases this year. But we need to undertake a comprehensive study to determine the exact number of those suffering from the disease.”

Victims however, have complained of social discrimination.

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Mohammad Idris, who contracted the disease from an infected needle during a drug injection, told TOLO News: “We are facing a lot of problems because we cannot share about our illness with others.”

Another HIV patient Omar, said: “If we go to hospitals and tell them that we have HIV Aids, they don’t treat us.” (IANS)