PESHAWAR: ‘23 children need Aids test’

September 08, 2006


PESHAWAR, Sept 7: Twenty-three orphaned children in Hangu district and Parachinar Agency are unable to undergo HIV tests because they cannot pay the fee. “Their one or both parents have died of Aids. We need to ascertain if these children have been affected by the disease,” said Shahrayar Khan of the NGO, Roshan Development Society, which had so far registered 53 patients in Hangu and 102 in Orakzai and Kurram Agencies.

He said that they had recorded 11 children in Hangu and 12 in Parachinar, Kurram Agency. Fathers, mothers or both of these children had died of HIV/Aids and now they are at the razor’s edge of being positive for the killer ailment.

Most of these children are destined to having had HIV/Aids, but tests are urgently required, he said

“We have conducted their Aids tests in the antiretroviral (ARV) therapy centre in Peshawar. All were negative. But they require HIV test, which is not available in Peshawar,” he added. In addition to the children, there are 31 HIV positive women, who needed treatment.

He said that he had already informed that National Aids Control Programme (NACP) about the problem of these children. The HIV test costed about Rs4,000-5,000 but these children could not afford it.

He said that all children were below four years of age and did not know about the disease, but the government and donor agencies were reluctant to extend assistance to them.

“There may be more such children because most of the people deported from Middle Eastern countries after being tested positive for HIV/Aids belong to this area,” he said.

He said that the NGO had also registered 31 women Aids patients, who needed treatment, adding that they had lost their husbands because of Aids and were now dependent on charities.

“These poor women cannot afford expensive diagnosis and treatment,” he said.