A situational analysis of HIV and AIDS in Pakistan
© Ilyas et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2011
Received: 7 February 2011
Accepted: 25 April 2011
Published: 25 April 2011
HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus) transmission has been reduced by protected sex and screening of blood products and other body fluids in the developed countries. It has been reported that Pakistan is at high risk of HIV/AIDS infection but presently the prevalence rate is considerably low. The number of reported cases of HIV/AIDS in Pakistan has been continuously increasing since 1987. By 2010 the total number of registered cases has reached to 6000 and this figure is on the rise with the passage of time. Some serious strategies must be implemented to control this deadly disease.
Situation in Pakistan
Pakistan, located in South Asia, is the sixth most densely packed country populated by 168.79 million people by the end of 2009 . It has four provinces "Sind, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and Baluchistan. India, China, Iran and Afghanistan are the neighboring countries of Pakistan. The region has a literacy rate of only 54% .
The geographic trend of the epidemic has recently expanded from major urban cities and provincial capitals to more rural town and smaller cities. Although national adult HIV prevalence in the general population remains < 0.1%, exceptions were observed as in Jalalpur Jattan (Gujrat) where 90 HIV positive cases were found, out of 342 samples from the general population that included a large number of sex-migrant workers . Among many factors, one important factor attributing to this development is unsafe injecting practices in formal and informal healthcare settings . The mode of HIV/AIDS transmission in Pakistan is largely heterosexual (52.55%), the most commonly reported modes of transmission are contaminated blood or blood products (11.73%) . According to AIDS Asia HIV wide spread is contributed by intravenous drug users (IDU's) (2.02%), male-to-male or homosexual relations (4.55%), mother-to-child transmission (2.2%) and transmission due to undetermined origin (26.9%) along with other factors [13, 14]. The major concern in Pakistan is the recent studies which have put the figures in HIV infected IDUs up to 2.5-3.5% during 2004-05. Many of these IDUs are also professional blood donors in a country with inadequate blood transfusion screening; only 50% of the transfused being screened for HIV .
Pakistan's National AIDS Control Program (NCP) is one of the pioneer institutions providing free treatment to any person found to be suffering from AIDS through its 20 AIDS Treatment Centers all over the country.
In a country with low literacy rate one should expect low level of awareness about HIV/AIDS. Awareness needs to be created at all levels especially in rural areas.
The government should know its responsibilities and should provide the necessary legal and regulatory frame work for dealing with this silent killer disease.
This disease is spreading continuously without knowing the boundaries. Further strategies must be implemented. Otherwise it will be impossible to get rid of this lethal wave.
National Institute of Health
National AIDS Control Program
Federally Administered Northern Areas
Human immunodeficiency virus
Acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome.
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