The recent HIV outbreak in Larkana, Sindh, has become an alarming threat for Pakistan as recently HIV positive toll has been climbed to 500 in just 17 days, according to unofficial estimates. Around 23 children and five women are among the 39 new cases, which surfaced at Taluka Hospital of Ratodero, Larkana’s town where the highest number of cases have been registered. The total number of the positive cases has reached 519, as per the unofficial estimates.
“They are coming by the dozens,” says a doctor at the makeshift clinic, beset by a lack of equipment and personnel to treat the surging number of patients. With about 20,000 new HIV infections reported in 2017 alone, Pakistan currently has the second fastest growing HIV rates across Asia, according to the UN.
Pakistan’s surging population also suffers the additional burden of having insufficient access to quality healthcare following decades of under-investment by the state, leaving impoverished, rural communities especially vulnerable to unqualified medical practitioners.“According to some government reports, around 600,000 quack doctors are operating across the country and around 270,000 are practicing in the province of Sindh,” said UNAIDS in a statement.
Awareness of cause is the best way of preventing any disease. Registered or unregistered healthcare workers should desist from giving injections and drips for profiteering, and patients should understand the serious consequences of receiving unnecessary jabs. Health authorities should have strict vigilance of blood screening in blood banks. People should be made aware of how engaging in unsafe sexual activities increases the risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections.
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