1 Dec, World AIDS Day, with Highest Counts of HIV Patients in K-P
PESHAWAR: A total of 1,816 people have registered themselves with the HIV treatment centres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Among them, 1,349 are men, 391 women and 76 children.
The statistics were shared by organisers with participants of a seminar held at the Peshawar Press Club to mark the Dec 1 World AIDS Day.
The health department had organised the event to raise public awareness of HIV/AIDS, where people from different walks of life, including government officials, representatives of partner organisations and civil society activists were in attendance.
According to the statistics, most of the HIV cases registered with the province’s treatment centres i.e. 298 are from Peshawar followed by 140 from Bannu, 101 from Lower Dir, 94 from Charsadda, 84 from Swat, 61 from Upper Dir, 60 from Swabi, 58 from Lakki Marwat, 50 from Nowshera, 47 from Hangu, 56 from Mardan, 41 from Kohat, 31 from Buner, 22 from Malakand, 15 from Mansehra, 15 from Abbottabad, 14 from Karak, nine from Chitral, seven from DI Khan, five each from Shangla and Tank districts, four from Batagram, and one from Kohistan district.
The speakers, including Dr Jamal Akbar, Dr Abdul Latif, Dr Attaullah Khan, Dr Mohammad Dost, Dr Jamil and Dr Idress, said treatment and preventive measures could help reduce the growing HIV/AIDS incidence in the province.
They urged the media to play due role for increasing public awareness of the disease and ways to prevent it.
The speakers said there were several HIV risk factors such as having unprotected anal or vaginal sex, low literacy rate, especially among women, indiscriminate transfusion of unscreened blood, use of un-sterilised medical instruments, re-use of used syringes and needles, sharing of contaminated needles and syringes, quackery, community dental clinics, street barbers, commercial sex, sex of men with men, labour migration, rising number of drug addicts, use of low quality condoms.
They warned if immediate and vigorous action was not taken, HIV could spread in the country fast.
On the occasion, Dr Jamal Akbar said diagnosis of HIV/AIDS was made on the symptoms, signs and blood tests.
He said if someone had a possible HIV exposure lately, the re-testing should be done after six weeks to confirm test results.
The physician said the test for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections was strongly advised for all people exposed to any of the risk factors so that they could learn about themselves and access necessary prevention and treatment services without delay.
“Taking preventive measures is everybody’s responsibility to control HIV/AIDS at the early stage,” he said, adding that the government was taking all possible ways to create public awareness of the disease.
Dr Jamal said individuals could reduce the risk of HIV infection by limiting exposure to risk factors.
He said the recommendations included male circumcision, partner reduction, use of anti-retroviral drugs for HIV-positive partner, correct and constant use of condoms, and interventions targeting populations most at risk.
Another expert, Dr Attaullah, said the Pakistan was in a concentrated phase of the epidemic, which meant HIV was concentrated among certain population groups.
He said the HIV prevalence was 27.2 per cent among injecting drug users, 7.2 per cent among transgender, 1.6 per cent among male sex workers and 0.6 per cent among female sex worker.
The expert said the HIV incidence was below 0.1 per cent among general population.
He however said according to the latest estimates, the country had 97,400 HIV/AIDS cases and that 14,092 of them had registered themselves with the government centres for treatment.
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