Monday December 04, 2023

‘Massive testing manifested in high prevalence of HIV in capital’

By Our Correspondent
November 26, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Around 84 percent increase in new HIV cases, during last few years, is a reflection of availability of testing and treatment services, expansion of community outreach services, increasing awareness and growing knowledge about the availability of HIV prevention and treatment in the country.

It was stated by Mustafa Jamal Qazi, an official of the National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHS,R&C) on Friday. Commenting on increase in HIV cases in Islamabad, Mustafa Qazi said 496 people tested positive for HIV at PIMS. Of them, 95 percent (473) are adults from the age bracket of 15-49 years and 4.9 percent (23) are children till the age of 14 years.

“Only 17 percent (85) of the newly diagnosed PLHIV are young adults aged between 15-25 years. Out of which, 62pc (53) are males, 21pc (18) are transgender and 17pc (14) are females. Similarly, 34 percent of the total PLHIV registered at PIMS belongs to the key populations (most at-risk groups): 27pc are people who inject drugs, 5pc are transgender and 2pc are men engaged in sex work”, he informed.

Only 23 percent (118) of the total PLHIV receiving services at PIMS belongs to Islamabad. The remaining 77 percent (378) belongs to geographically contiguous districts of the country, such as Rawalpindi, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Attock and other areas, he added.

“Pakistan is one of the fastest growing epidemics countries in the Asia-Pacific region with only 26pc of the estimated people living with HIV knowing of their positive status and a very small percentage (16pc) is on life-saving HIV treatment. We have a long way to go in terms of reaching and testing people at high risk, putting the diagnosed people on treatment and reducing transmission,” said Mustafa Qazi.