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HIV / AIDS
Nearly 14 million children have lost a parent to AIDS. It is estimated that a child loses a parent to AIDS-related causes every 14 seconds
One of the priority areas of EACH Pakistan is to work on the prevention from HIV/AIDS for which the organization has taken hectic efforts in the city of Faisalabad, the third biggest city of Pakistan.
With the vast majority of HIV/AIDS-affected children, efforts to curb the spreading of the syndrome must be targeted on youth of the country. EACH Faisalabad, Pakistan believes that engaging and educating the parents of young people is the key to controlling the disease.
Reference: UNDP Website)
The first case of AIDS in a Pakistani citizen was reported in 1987 in Lahore. During the late 1980s and 1990s, it became evident that an increasing number of Pakistanis, mostly men, were becoming infected with HIV while living or traveling abroad. Upon their return to Pakistan, some of these men subsequently infected their wives who, in some cases, passed along the infection to their children. In 1993, the first recognized transmission of HIV infection through breastfeeding in Pakistan was reported in the city of Rawalpindi. During the 1990s, cases of HIV and AIDS began to appear among groups such as sex workers drug abusers and jail inmates. The increased rates of infection among these groups are assumed to have facilitated, at least to some extent, a further dissemination of HIV into the general population.
Currently classified by WHO/UNAIDS but high-risk country for the spread of HIV infection, Pakistan has recently witnessed changes in the epidemiological trends of the disease owing particularly to rapid rise in infection among injecting drug users. According to UNAIDS estimates, some 70,000 to 80,000 persons, or 0.1 percent of the adult population in Pakistan, are infected with HIV although cases reported to the National AIDS Control Program are less. As in many countries, the numbers may be underreported -- mainly due to the social stigma attached to the infection, limited surveillance and voluntary counseling and testing systems, as well as the lack of knowledge among the general population and health practitioners.
Data analysis indicates that most infections occur between ages of 20-44 years, with men outnumbering females by a ratio 5:1. The trends are closely similar to other countries affected by HIV/AIDS. By September 2003, sexual transmission accounted for the majority of reported cases (67.48%). Other modes of transmission included: infection through contaminated blood and blood products (6.99%); injecting drug abuse (0.82%); and mother to child transmission (3%). The mode of transmission remains unknown in 20% of reported cases most probably due to stigma and lack of awareness.
EACH Pakistan’s Approach in the Prevention from HIV/AIDS
The HIV/AIDS pandemic has wreaked havoc around the world, has destabilized families and entire societies, and is leaving millions of children without the care and support they need to secure their survival and development. EACH understands the threat facing children in Faisalabad, Pakistan and is actively surveying the target areas and holding meetings with the high risk groups. EACH Pakistan is planning to work for the prevention of the spreading of the syndrome and also offer “care and support” to the children whose lives have been impacted by HIV/AIDS.
To help stop the spreading of the syndrome, EACH Faisalabad, Pakistan has put young people at the centre of our response and is targeting prevention and awareness strategies directly to them to protect their sexual and reproductive health to reduce their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.
EACH Faisalabad Pakistan's HIV/AIDS program also plans to provide social support to children affected by HIV/AIDS, so as to ensure that they have access to basic services including health and education.
EACH Faisalabad, Pakistan works with the children to plan for the future after the death of a family member from HIV / AIDS. EACH also plans to strengthen the Basic Health Unit in the Rural and Urban areas to setup counseling to prevent/stop HIV / AIDS, which will provide continuous awareness and support and care to families and children impacted by HIV / AIDS.
Pakistan has a narrow window of opportunity to prevent a generalized HIV / AIDS epidemic. It is estimated that 70,000 to 80,000 persons, or 0.1 percent of the adult population in Pakistan, are infected with the HIV virus, according to UNAIDS. The statistics show that by the end of September 2002, only 1972 HIV cases and 231 AIDS cases had been reported to the government’s National AIDS Control Program. Many of the cases are not reported, mainly due to social stigma, underdeveloped surveillance, and voluntary counselling and testing systems, as well as lack of knowledge among the population and practitioners.
Although the prevalence of HIV infection in Pakistan is still low, the country is highly vulnerable to an escalating epidemic due to a number of significant risk factors.
Heterosexual transmission accounts for about 63% of reported cases, exposure to infected blood or blood products for about 7%, male-to-male sex for about 6%, mother-to-child transmission for about 3%, and injecting drug users about 1%. The mode of transmission for the remaining 20% of cases is not known. To date, the majority of infected cases are among males, with a male to female ratio of 7:1, which is to be expected in the early stages of an HIV epidemic.
There are a number of significant risk factors that put Pakistan in danger of facing a widespread epidemic if immediate action is not taken:
Injecting Drug Users:
The number of drug dependents in Pakistan is currently estimated to be about 4,000,000 of whom an estimated 60,000 inject drugs
The UNAIDS survey discovered that young people in Pakistan are at a very high risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS. Some 83% percent of reported HIV/AIDS cases in Pakistan were between the ages of twenty to forty nine. Even more startling, some 25% of the reported cases were young men under the age of 25, infected due to unsafe sexual practices and IV drug use. Women as a percentage of reported cases will rise as infected men increasingly have unsafe sex with women within their families and communities
Commercial Sex Workers:
Commercial Sex Workers (CSWs) and their clients report very low condom use and have insufficient access to information about HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Inadequate Blood Transfusion Screening and High Level of Professional Donors:
It is estimated that 40 percent of the 1.5 million annual blood transfusions in Pakistan are not screened for HIV. About 20% of the blood transfused comes from professional donors, who give blood for money, and approximately 1% of these donors are infected with HIV
Unsafe Medical Injection Practices:
Pakistan has a high rate of medical injections: around 4.3 per capita per year. Studies indicate that 94% of injections are administered with used injection equipment. Use of un-sterilized needles at medical facilities is also widespread. According to WHO estimates, unsafe injections account for 62% Hepatitis B, 84% of Hepatitis C, and 3% of new HIV cases.
Faisalabad is the third largest city of Pakistan, so even a small percentage of infections mean a large number of individuals, families and communities affected.
EACH Pakistan’s activities under taken:
We conducted a survey to find out the root causes behind the rapidly spreading of HIV / AIDS. Poverty negligence of society is the main reason for the spread of this disease; it is also established that one of the main reason in the spreading of the disease is poverty. Poverty is one of the many reasons of persuading in becoming MSW / FSW and HSWAll statistics are of UNAIDS & Govt. of Pakistan .