LAHORE: Inadequate measures for curtailing HIV/AIDs have brought embarrassment to Pakistan as the United Nations has put it on the list of 11 countries which have the highest prevalence of the disease — 13 per cent — in its latest report.
It is the highest ratio of HIV prevalence the country has touched during the last decade, raising concerns among global health partners.
The UNAIDS-2019 analysis revealed that the world is on track to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, but Pakistan is among the countries where ratio of new AIDs cases saw a sharp increase. The report termed it a blow to global efforts to curtail the disease.
UNAIDS analysis reveals the average HIV incidence per 1,000 people in Pakistan was 0.08 in 2010, which rose to 0.11 last year
It stated that the average HIV incidence per 1000 people in Pakistan was 0.08 in 2010, which had risen to 0.11 last year.
The situation has aggravated despite grant of “massive funding” by international health partners to curtail HIV.
The report, which has already been communicated to Islamabad, stated that the number of people living with HIV in the country stood at 160,000 last year. The number was 120,000 in 2015 and 67,000 in 2010.
The number of people living with HIV under 14 years of age was 5,500 in 2018, 4,000 in 2015 and 1,800 in 2010, according to the report.
The ratio also witnessed an increase in the number of females aged 15 and above living with HIV. The numbers were 19,000 in 2010, 37,000 in 2015 and 48,000 last year.
The number of males aged 15 and above living with HIV stood at 110,000 last year, compared to 84,000 in 2015 and 46,000 in 2010.
The UNAIDS report also dwelt on mortality ratio because of this deadly disease as a good number of patients living with HIV remained untraced and untreated. It stated that the average annual death ratio of HIV patients was 6400 in 2018, 4700 in 2015 and 1400 in 2010.
The report put the number of fresh HIV infection cases for all age groups at 2200 for 2018, 18,000 for 2015 and 14000 for 2010.
The UNAIDS analysis recorded HIV prevalence at 3.8pc among sex workers in 2018, 3.7pc among gay men, 21pc among drug addicts and 5.5pc for transgender people.
It revealed 45pc of sex workers were aware of their HIV status, 35.1pc use condom and 0.7pc had access to an HIV prevention programme.
Forty-four per cent of gay men know their HIV status, 22.4pc use condom and 1.2pc had access to an HIV prevention porgramme.
Among drug addicts, 39.3pc were aware of their HIV status, 15.3pc use condom and 1.6pc were benefiting from any HIV prevention programme.
The situation was not satisfactory in respect of transgender people as 69.1pc know their HIV status, 24pc use condom and only 1.1pc had access to an HIV prevention programme.
According to the report, 18pc children and eight per cent women living with HIV who know their status had undergone tests and treatment last year.
The percentage of pregnant women living with HIV who have access to antiretroviral medicines was reported at 10pc last year.
Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2019