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January 4, 2015

321 new patients registered at PIMS in 2014


January 4, 2015

The centre for treatment of AIDS at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Islamabad, registered as many as 321 new patients suffering from HIV (Human Immune-deficiency Virus) infection and AIDS (Acquired Immune-deficiency Syndrome) in the year 2014 that took the total number of patients registered with the centre to 1964.
Data collected by ‘The News’ has revealed that the number of patients with HIV & AIDS registered at PIMS in 2014 is the second highest as compared the number of patients reported from 2005 to 2013. The centre had registered 363 new patients in 2010.
The PIMS centre for treatment of AIDS was established in November 2005 by National Aids Control Programme. With the registration of 321 new patients in 2014, the total number of patients registered with the PIMS centre reached to 1964 of which 1628 are males, 303 are females, 30 children and three patients from third gender.
Of the total patients so far registered with the PIMS centre, as many as 674 are injecting drug users (IDUs), said Media Coordinator at PIMS Dr. Waseem Ahmed Khawaja while talking to ‘The News’ on Saturday.
He added that in 2014, the PIMS centre received 15 new patients in January, 20 new patients in February, 28 in March, 28 in April, 32 in May, 23 in June, 21 in July, 11 in August, 18 in September, 28 in October, 26 in November and 33 new patients of HIV & AIDS in December.
He said that not only the medicines are provided free of cost to the patients but also PCR test is done free of cost for the aids patients. Rapid aids testing facility is also provided free of cost to all the patients reporting at this centre, said Dr. Khawaja.
He said that all the patients with HIV positive do not need the treatment instead only the patients who have full blown AIDS are receiving the antiviral treatment of AIDS at the PIMS Center. He said the PIMS centre has been receiving patients from all across Pakistan.
The centre in PIMS working under

National Aids Control Programme and headed by Professor Dr Rizwan Qazi is providing free screening for AIDS, free of cost treatment to AIDS patients and free hepatitis B and pneumonia vaccines to the victims of AIDS.
It is important that the HIV is a lentivirus, a member of the retrovirus family, that infects cells of the human immune system causing AIDS, a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive.
In South East Asia, Pakistan stand a few steps behind India and Nepal in terms of HIV epidemic. Earlier, in recent past, Pakistan was classified as a ‘low prevalence high risk’ country, but now Pakistan is in a ‘concentrated phase’ of the epidemic with HIV prevalence of more than 5% among injecting drug users (IDUs).
Professor Qazi has expressed to ‘The News’ that the situation is becoming more alarming because it has been witnessed that the HIV prevalence among IDUs in twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi is nearly 40 per cent and it is also witnessed that 90 per cent of the reported HIV positive IDUs are suffering from hepatitis C as well.
It is worth mention here that the PIMS centre for treatment of AIDS registered 30 new patients of HIV & AIDS in 2005, 89 patients in 2006, 115 patients in 2007, 154 in 2008, 280 in 2009, 363 in 2010, 148 in 2011, 227 in 2012, 237 in 2013 and 321 new patients in 2014.
The number of patients is on the rise hinting towards rise in incidence of the infection and it seems as the problem is emerging as a greater health threat, said Dr. Khawaja while responding to a query.
He said most of the patients of the infection do to want to report their problem at the healthcare facilities because of the social stigma attached with the disease. Various NGOs working on the subject refer the patients of AIDS to the PIMS Center and as well AIDS victims themselves refer new cases to the centre. He added that doctors in private practice and doctors from other tertiary care hospitals also refer patients of HIV & AIDS to the PIMS while media is also a great source of information for the new patients reaching the hospital.
Dr. Khawaja said that since 2005, mother to child prophylaxis for vertical transmission was prevented by operations of 68 pregnant women who were HIV positive.

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