KARACHI, Nov 19: The geographical mapping carried out in a pilot survey conducted by the National Aids Control Programme along with HIV/Aids Surveillance Project reveals that an average of 38,000 of high risk people vis-à-vis HIV/Aids are present in Karachi and the majority of them are living in Saddar Town.

The survey showed 5,078 (13.3 per cent) of the total high-risk people live in Saddar Town followed by Baldia Town 4,967 people (13 per cent) and Lyari 3,866 people (10.1 per cent).

Interestingly, Gadap Town had the lowest prevalence of HRAs (high-risk activities) with only 418 people (1.1 per cent) followed by Gulberg (613 people; 1.6 per cent) and Korangi (635 people; 1.7 per cent).

Other towns listed in the study are:

Orangi 1,517 people; 4 per cent), Bin Qasim (2,686; 7 per cent), Gulshan (1,587; 4.2 per cent), Jamshed (3,011; 7.9 per cent), Keamari (1,131; 3 per cent), Landhi (1,034; 2.7 per cent), Liaquatabad (1,623 4.3 per cent), Malir (744; 2.0 per cent), New Karachi 1,146; 3 per cent), North Nazimabad (1,281; 3.4 per cent), Shah Faisal (1,276; 3.3 per cent) and SITE (2,892; 7.6 per cent).

Besides, 2,590 high-risk people were reported in DHA which accounted for 6.8 per cent of a total of 38,097 people in Karachi.

The report said the number of high-risk people was on the rise in the city’s peripheral localities too.

It says 12,282 HRAs are injecting drug users (IDUs), 11,546 are female sex workers (FSWs), 8,582 are eunuch sex workers (ESWs) and 5,687 are male sex workers (MSWs).

The results of the survey showed that Lyari Town had the highest concentration of all the high-risk groups. In certain towns of Karachi such as Baldia and Lyari, all types of sex-related activities (FSWs, MSWs and ESWs) were maximally noted. Some overlapping also appeared between concentrations of IDUs and MSWs; higher concentrations were noted in Saddar Town.

Saddar has the maximum IDUs, 2,463, followed by Lyari (1,197), SITE (1,073), Jamshed (890) and Bin Qasim (889).

Baldia Town has the highest number of FSWs, 2,130, followed by Lyari (1,172), DHA (1,148) and SITE (1,068).

Similarly, Baldia Town has the highest numbers of ESWs (1,910) followed by Bin Qasim (846), Lyari (763) and Jamshed (694).

Saddar Town has the maximum number of MSWs with 1,340 out of a total of 5,687 followed by Lyari (734), Bin Qasim (602), Baldia (515) and Jamshed (515).

The two high-risk groups, i.e. IDUs and FSWs were further sub-classified into home-based and street-based. It was found that most of the IDUs in Karachi's top ranking towns were street-based, except Bin Qasim (42 per cent) and SITE town (25 per cent).

As regards classification of FSWs in Karachi, no particular pattern could be established; Baldia Town had maximum FSWs who were home-based, compared to those in Lyari Town who were maximally operating from the streets.

All the high-risk groups were mostly between 20-30 years. More than 40 per cent of all these groups were illiterate. FSWs claimed to be much more frequently married (53-71 per cent) among all the high-risk groups. Between 40-70 per cent of all the high-risk groups reported to have migrated from other cities; ESWs (66-71 per cent) and IDUs (58-66 per cent) being most significant among all. Only one third (31 per cent) of IDUs live with their families.

It was noted that most of the high risk groups (HRGs) were poor and socially excluded, though at least more than half of them were having normal family life; thus poverty and lack of opportunities for improving their quality of life was interwoven and pushed them into a vicious nexus of poverty-ill health-poverty.

Though no data was collected to find out the determinants of these risky behaviors, it is obvious that there is lack of adequate social support for reducing vulnerabilities as well as risks associated with their behaviours, the report says.

The report says: The fact still remains that they are part of the general population, having various social networks.

Interestingly, the survey could not actually pick up the aggregate number of the clients of sex workers; rough estimates would indicate multiples of each of these sex worker. These "clients" mostly, are apparently normal individuals living in the mainstream without any identification.

It recommended that all those town/cities or any of the major rural areas suspected to be having high risk activities be included in the future surveillance system, on priority basis and as soon as possible.

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