AIDS In Pakistan
by Darhoon Menghwar,
HYDERABAD SINDH: (Darhoon Menghwar) HIV has long thrived quietly on the fringes of Pakistani society among injection drug users, sex workers and tainted blood recipients, there is now risk of HIV spreading further into the general population of Pakistan.
In Pakistan having a population of 160 millions 1st case of AIDS was reported in 1987, now 0.1 million people are infected of HIV. after 2002 HIV is spreading rapidly from urban to rural areas
The great risk of spreading of HIV stems from "IDU" injection drug users, more than 5 millions estimated drug users in Pakistan with 1.5 millions in sindh, out of these 2 lac people are injection drug users, mostly young people are being hooked on drug and majority is of male.
Anxiety, unemployment, poverty, illiteracy, lake of awareness of drug use, family problems are the major cause of drug using. Afghanistan, neighbor country is the world largest poppy producer and it is easily smuggle to Pakistan, so the no of "IDU" in Pakistan is bound to increase in the near future and this happened the relative cause of HIV will also rise.
The Sex worker are the second most serious threat for HIV transmission, in red markets mostly female workers don't know about condom use, while mostly people refuse to use condom.T ruck drivers are also major sub group for spreading HIV from urban to rural areas, mostly long distance truck drivers reported having sex with man and hijras.
Pakistan is Islamic country, so govt. refuses to accept illicit sex under way in the country, there fore there are established Prostitution centers in most areas, societies and colonies in Karachi, Hyderabad, Larkana, Sukkur, Lahore and other major cities.
According to survey of ICSP infection control society Pakistan, there are 247 MSM hot spot in Karachi, 143 in Hyderabad and 108 in Sukkur, where 82% MSM not use condom, only 6% MSM know right procedure of condom use, 81% MSM are don't know about HIV/AIDS whole 4% MSM are infected with HIV/AIDS, 63% MSM believe that they can not be infected with HIV/AIDS
Blood Banks are also factor for spreading HIV in Pakistan, there are more then 250 Blood Banks in public sector and more then 500 in Private sector. In private sector facilities are generally unsatisfactory and poor, only 20% Public sector Blood banks having necessary screening in Karachi and other cities of Pakistan.
Blood banks purchase blood from whomever goes to then without any proper screening, drug users who sell blood to these unsatisfactory blood banks and easily get 10$ per bag. It is estimated that 40% of the 1.5 millions annual blood transfusions in Pakistan are not screened for HIV, about 20 % of the blood transfused comes from professional donors.
Low literacy ratio is also a cause for spreading HIV, in Pakistan female literacy ratio is less then 40% and male ratio is less then 60 %, efforts to increase awareness about HIV among the general population are hampered by low literacy level, and cultural influence.
Unfortunately Pakistan remain 32 years under the umbrella of Dictators and due to corruption, policies of govt. could not be effective as they should be, govt. and ngo work regarding this important problem is only limited in closed rooms and five star hotels, no any activities makes at public places, it is big unfortunate.
Health minister Aijaz Jakhrani has told National Assembly that govt. is taking efforts to control on HIV spreading situation, so for that we are making law to take test of HIV at airports of those people who comes from others countries. "AIDS is not health issue, it should be looked on as socio cultural one" he said.
AIDS is a story of great breadth and sharp contrasts, covering it requires knowledge and sensitively around personal issues, such as sexuality, addiction and social vulnerability.
At the same time it is global story requiring abroad understanding international Politics, Economics and diverse cultural tradition.