Karachi: In Sindh province the largest number of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) /AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) patients live in Karachi, as there are 3942 HIV positive and 69 AIDS positive patients in the city, says Dr Muhammad Munawar Khan, BCC Coordinator, Sindh AIDS Control Program (SACP).
He said Larkana stands second with 354 HIV and 3 AIDS patients. In Hyderabad the number of registered HIV positive people is 58, while there are 3 AIDS patients. In Dadu there are 17 HIV and 2 AIDS patients. In Mirpurkhas there are 11 HIV positive and one AIDS patient. In Sanghar and Sukkur the number of HIV patients is 96 and 66, respectively, while there is no AIDS patient in these districts.
He said 16 people died of AIDS in Sindh province during last three months, while 326 news AIDS/HIV patients were registered during the same period. They include 304 men, 104 women, 2 girls and one boy.
Dr Khan said during last three months no new AIDS patient was registered in Sindh. Referring the data of registered AIDS patients with SACP, he said there are 194 males, one boy, 30 women and one girl AIDS positive people in Sindh province.
Dr Khan said Sindh AIDS Control Program is running 46 HIV/AIDS clinics in government district and Taluka hospitals of the province. He said if any patient is screened positive, he is referred to the central referral lab of the Sindh AIDS Control Program at Civil Hospital Karachi for further costly tests. He said; however, all these tests are performed free of cost, and registered HIV/ AIDS patients given free of cost medical care facilities including medicines.
He said in past the very name of HIV/AIDS was a taboo but now this mindset has changed and people are visiting their clinics for HIV/AIDS screening. He said in Sindh province unsafe blood transfusion and use of shared injections amongst drug addicts is the major cause of HIV/AIDS; however, the activities of professional sex workers including transgender people, locally called Heejras, is another cause of these infections. He said unclean tools of dentists, unhygienic surgical procedures and use of shared razor blades in barber shops are also responsible for HIV/AIDS infection and people must avoid them at all costs.