Pakistan witnesses 13 per cent rise in HIV cases

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Pakistan has recorded a 13 per cent jump in the new HIV infections, according to a UN report that recorded the fastest surge among the transgender people and sex workers, a media report said on Tuesday.

The total number of HIV cases in Pakistan has increased to 160,000 this year, a significant increase from 67,000 in 2010, the Express Tribune reported, quoting a latest UN report on HIV cases in the country.

The report indicates that there was a jump of 1,500 cases between 2015 and 2018 among those aged14, the report said.

"Similarly, female HIV patients above the age of 15 rose to 37,000 in 2015 and 48,000 in 2018. HIV rates among injection drug users increased by 21 per cent during 2019, followed by 3.7 per cent among homosexuals and 3.8 per cent in sex workers," the paper reported the UN report as saying.

The UN report on the country's HIV infections came amidst nearly 800 people tested positive for the infection in Sindh province's Larkana district since April this year.

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

"Globally, 37.9 million people are infected with HIV out of which 13.3 million have access to antiretroviral therapy, which is used to treat the infectious disease," the report said.

According to statistics gathered by the UN and the World Health Organization, since 1985, a total of 25 million people lost the battle against HIV globally.

In recent years, government awareness campaigns around the world helped reduce the number of HIV cases transmitted through drug use.

However, awareness campaigns were mostly missing from the radar in Pakistan, the paper reported.

Pakistan’s first HIV case surfaced 34 years ago in 1985. Since then, the country has witnessed a dangerous surge in the number of infected patients, partly because of the lack of a coherent national policy to prevent the disease from spreading, the report said. 

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