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June 26, 2019

PIMS AIDS Centre receives 95 new patients in six months


June 26, 2019

Islamabad: In the first six months of 2019, from January to date, the Centre for Treatment of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences has received as many as 95 new patients with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) positive and AIDS.

Data collected by ‘The News’ on Tuesday has revealed that a total of 66 male patients, 22 female patients and five children with HIV Positive reported at PIMS AIDS Centre in last six months while two new transgender patients with AIDS have also been reported so far in 2019.

Registration of 95 new patients have taken the total number of registered patients at PIMS AIDS Centre to 3,232 of which 2,684 patients are male, 456 female, 69 children and 20 transgender. The PIMS AIDS Centre was established in 2005 by National Aids Control Programme.

It is worth mentioning here that AIDS is considered as the most advanced stage of HIV infection and generally, it may take 10-15 years for an HIV-infected person to develop AIDS, the end-stage of HIV infection. In case a patient is not having treatment after developing AIDS, he or she may die within six months though antiretroviral therapy (ART) can slow down the progress and people with HIV may enjoy healthy and productive lives for years with ART. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for AIDS however.

The total number of patients who are on ART at PIMS AIDS department is 1,913 including 1,503 male patients, 348 female patients, 58 children and 12 transgender patients. Of these, as many as 438 patients are intravenous drugs users (IDUs).

As many as 323 HIV positive patients are suffering from hepatitis B while 158 patients are suffering from hepatitis C, said Deputy Director at PIMS Dr. Waseem Khawaja while talking to ‘The News’.

He added that Dr. Naila is in charge of AIDS centre at PIMS who along with dedicated staff deputed at the centre has made the unit an ideal treatment facility for HIV positive patients. The PIMS Executive Director Dr. Amjad has made special arrangements to cater to the needs of HIV/AIDS patients reaching hospital, he said.

The standard of services at the AIDS centre can be gauged from the fact that not a single baby has so far been borne with HIV positive to any female patient at the centre, he said. The female HIV patients having pregnancy are being given excellent treatment before child birth and surgeries so far have been done successfully to avoid infection in new born babies, he said.

It is important that HIV can be transmitted from an HIV positive mother to her child during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding and mother-to-child transmission accounts for over 90 per cent of new HIV infections among children.

Dr. Khawaja said the PIMS AIDS Centre has so far provided management facilities to as many as 91 pregnancy cases through PPTCT, a program for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. Nine thalassemia patients are also registered with the centre who are HIV positive, he said.

He added the centre has received a total of 1031 IDUs having HIV positive though 438 of them are on ART while of a total of 69 child patients so far reported at the centre, 58 are receiving ART.

All diagnostic tests for HIV/AIDS patients are free including screening and PCR and also the centre provides free of cost treatment to all patients. The pregnant women having HIV/AIDS are given free of cost treatment not only for the infection but also for deliveries, said Dr. Khawaja.

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