ISLAMABAD: As many as 2,184 cases of HIV/Aids have been registered at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) since 2005.

Pims media coordinator Dr Waseem Khawaja told Dawn that although estimates suggest that over 100,000 people are suffering from HIV/Aids across the country, the majority are not registered.

“Pims has been registering patients because that is the only way to reduce the chances of the disease from spreading and for treatment to start,” he said.

“The 2,184 include 338 women, 180 men, 30 children and seven transgender individuals who have been registered in the hospital over the last 10 years. The patients are given treatment free of cost,” Dr Waseem Khawaja said.

Khawaja said that there is not a trend of voluntarily testing, due to which a large number of patients are registered during laboratory tests or blood donations.

Estimates suggest that there are somewhere between 90,000 and 120,000 people living with HIV/Aids across the country, out of which only 11,000 are registered with government departments.

A significant number of patients are reluctant to register themselves and instead try to hide their illness.

Due to the lack of reliable data, it has therefore been challenging for the government to devise a strategy to control the spread of the disease and provide treatment to patients.

Published in Dawn, October 12th , 2015

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