AIDS cases

 
July 09, 2020

While the Covid-19 pandemic has seized the attention of the world, it is easy to forget that other dangerous illnesses also continue to take their toll. According to the 2020 Global AIDS Update...

Share Next Story >>>

While the Covid-19 pandemic has seized the attention of the world, it is easy to forget that other dangerous illnesses also continue to take their toll. According to the 2020 Global AIDS Update published by UNAIDS, cases of HIV infection are rising in Pakistan while the lack of diagnostic facilities and poor adherence to treatment means there are a higher number of mortalities and also onward transmission. UNAIDS has said HIV infections have declined in the Asia-Pacific region, notably in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam but there is a sharp rise in insurgence in Pakistan and the Philippines. In many countries in the region the 29 percent reduction in AIDS-related deaths since 2010 comes as a result of successful testing and treatment programmes. However, the lack of access of most Pakistanis to basic healthcare means that testing for HIV may not be available to them while the stigma that is still associated with the disease means that even those who suspect infection may not report it.

The crisis that arose in Larkana and other areas of Sindh some months ago concerning a surge in HIV infection, with children among those infected, leaves open an area that requires further investigation. But currently the problem with the misuse of syringes even by medical staff and also by drug users in Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Afghanistan means that each of these countries is seeing a rise in AIDS cases. Many Pakistanis, including workers returning from the Gulf States, truck drivers, drug users and others may also not be aware that while HIV or full-blown AIDS cannot be cured, it can be successfully treated through good medical care. In developed countries, AIDS patients are living a normal life-span. This is sadly not true for Pakistan where the rate of infection continues to rise. More awareness and better access to medical care are essential if the problem is to be halted. People also need to be informed about symptoms which could suggest HIV infection and proper testing offered to them. This would mean a major campaign by the government. It has been predicted for years that South Asia, including Pakistan, could become an epicenter for HIV infection. The latest report by UNAIDS suggests this is now turning into a nightmarish reality over which health services in the country need to gain control and win over the confidence of people so that they are ready to get themselves tested and treated as per medical advice.



More From Editorial