Peshawar: Health experts at a seminar here on eve of world AIDS day, stressed the need of proper treatment and taking all preventive measures, to reduce increasing rate of HIV/AIDS, urging the media to aware people to check the disease.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Department in connection with World AIDS Day, organized a function at Press Club on Monday.
Dr Jamal Akbar, Dr Abdul Latif, Dr Attaullah Khan, Dr Mohammad Dost, Dr Jameel, Dr Idress, and others spoke on the occasion. People from different walk of life, representatives of partners’ organizations, civil society, and senior officials from health department, HIV/AIDS control program and others attended.
He said diagnosis of HIV and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is made on the symptoms, signs and blood tests. He said if someone has had a recent possible HIV exposure, retesting should be done after six weeks to confirm test results.
He believes that testing for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted infections is strongly advised for all people exposed to any of the risk factors so that they can learn of their own infection status and access necessary prevention and treatment services without delay.
He said prevention is everybody’s responsibility. AIDS is not solely a medical problem. He said the government is taking all ways of communications for creating awareness on HIV and AIDS throughout the province.
They said there are risk factors such as unprotected anal or sex, low literacy rate especially among women, transfusion of unscreened blood, use of non-sterilized instruments, re-use of used syringes and needles, sharing contaminated needles and syringes, quackery, community dental clinics, street barbers, commercial sex, labor migration, rising number of drug addicts, low condom use rates etc that put Pakistan in danger of facing a spread of HIV if immediate action is not taken.
Dr Jamal said individuals can reduce the risk of HIV infection by limiting exposure to risk factors. He said the recommendations include male circumcision, partner reduction, offering antiretroviral drugs (ART) for the HIV positive partner, correct and constant use of condoms, and interventions targeting most at risk populations, also known as “Combined Prevention”.
He added that post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) with ARV drugs within 72 hours of exposure to HIV is often recommended for health-care workers following needle stick injuries in the workplace.
Dr Attaullah said the Pakistan is in a concentrated phase of the epidemic which means HIV is concentrated among certain population groups of injecting drug user about 27.2 per cent, Trans Gender/hijras 7.2 per cent, male sex workers 1.6 per cent and female sex worker 0.6 per cent as per the last IBBS survey 2011.
He, said the HIV among general population still stands below 0.1 per cent, but according to latest national HIV estimates, there are approximately 97,400 cases of HIV/AIDs were reported in the country. While, he said a total of 14, 092 HIV positive people have registered for treatment and care across the country.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he said the around 1,816 people of HIV positive have registered with HIV treatment centers, among which 1349 men, 391 women, and 76 children.
He said Peshawar is at the top with total number of cases of HIV positive 298, followed by Bannu 140 cases, Dir Lower 101, Charsadda 94, Swat 84, Dir Upper 61, Swabi 60, Lakki Marwat 58, Nowshera 50, Hangu 47, Mardan 56, Kohat 41, Buner 31, Malakand 22, Manshera 15, Abbottabad 15, Karak 14, Chitral nine, DI Khan seven, Shangla and Tank district each five cases, Battagram four, and district Kohistan with only one case.