Jun 12, 2019

Sindh: Half of HIV Patients Still Await Treatment

After previous reports of an unprecedented outbreak of HIV in the province of Sindh in Pakistan, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has released a report in which it documents that more than half of the diagnosed people, out of which more than 80 per cent are children, remain without treatment. Moreover, as Pakistan lacks the number of medication required to treat all of the affected, the HIV outbreak has proved difficult to control.

The article below was published by The Times of India:

More than half of the 751 people diagnosed with HIV in Pakistan’s Southern Sindh province remain without treatment, according to the World Health Organisation.

The HIV positive cases were identified among the 21,375 tested in Larkana in May [2019], and out of the affected, 604 are between the ages of 2 and 15.

Health officials have attributed the cause to the use of unsanitary equipment, unsafe blood transfusion and rampant malpractice often at the hands of quacks.

A report by the WHO experts, who are in Pakistan to investigate the outbreak of HIV cases and also support the local authorities’ response to medical emergency, says that more than half of the patients in Sindh remain deprived of any sort of treatment facilities.

The WHO team has said that 751 people have tested positive for the HIV virus of which 604 are children.

The report states that only 324 patients (47 per cent) have been provided treatment unit now, while 427 (53 per cent) still await medical assistance.

As per the report, the provision of the required medicines is a daunting challenge as Pakistan only has stocks to treat 240 of the 604 affected children.

It further states that medicine stocks being used to treat the 240 children in different hospitals would last only until July 15 [2019].

The HIV outbreak was first reported on April 25th [2019] and a major HIV screening program was then initiated on April 28 [2019].

Muzaffar Ghangro, a doctor from the district, who was arrested on the suspicion of having spread the HIV virus with infected needles at his clinic has been cleared of “intentionally” spreading the deadly virus in Ratodero town of the Lakarna district.

A Joint investigation team of the Sindh police said that they had exonerated the doctor of deliberately infecting the people with the virus but it confirmed the doctor was one of the major sources for the virus’ spread.


Photo courtesy of EXPRESS/FILE