Number of HIV cases in Ratodero rises to 1,204 [DailyTimes] 09 Dec, 2019

HIV positive cases continue to emerge here as the number of positive cases has reached 1,204.Out of total positive cases 249 are adults and of them 66 are adult males and 183 adult females. The number of children affected by this virus has reached to 955 out of which 591 are male and 364 female children. One new HIV case surfaced on Saturday when 38 people were tested for the viral disease which has created lot of panic among the residents of the town and the nearby areas.When this Scribe talked to Dr. Imran Ali Arbani, on Sunday, who broke the story at the very outset, he said five things need to be done on emergency basis by Sindh government for the affected patients because it is the constituency of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. He disclosed that source of transmission has once again emerged as barbers, illegal laboratories, OTs and quacks have returned to their old dirty business adding even MBBS doctors are doing the same old practice which need to wiped out once for all with iron hands of law. He said sources of transmission still prevail here adding even goldsmiths are stitching ears and noses in the same old manner. He said people get Tattoo or get their loved ones names written on their hands/arms through same syringes during Urs celebrations of known shrines. He said drug abusers have also emerged who too are sharing same syringes and one NGO is supplying them daily one syringe free, he alleged.He said population of Ratodero is about 330,000 and so far 10% screening has so far been made while 90% is still to be carried out. He said we have to find the total number of HIV cases so that proper strategy could be launched for the affected cases otherwise it will be impossible to provide treatment to all of them and the viral disease will continue to spread. He said government is afraid of the number of cases which is why they are reluctant to launch massive screening here. He is it is must to screen all to find out the exact number of HIV cases so that proper plans could be developed for rehabilitation of all the affected cases.He said providing proper treatment is also essential for which CD-4, PCR and Viral Load Tests (VLT) are must of every patient which is unavailable in Ratodero. He said treatment is not being provided here to the patients as is done elsewhere in the world. He said anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral drugs are given to the affected patients globally but here patients are treated only through Anti-Retro Therapy (ART). He said there are two kinds of HIV, HIV-1 and HIV-2 in the world and the outbreak in Ratodero is of HIV-1 nature which is more lethal and HIV-2 is found in African countries. He said co-morbidity is also developed among the patients which is also to be treated and monitored systematically but here in the Treatment Centre these are ignored as untrained doctors have been posted. He said many affected people have been forcibly shifted from their native villages who are living in Ratodero now which has proved that patients are facing severe stigma and worst discriminatory behaviours in the society which need to be addressed quickly through mass awareness and financial help for which he added Anti-Discriminatory Law is available which need to be implemented only.He said fifth point is rehabilitation for which government should provide all the patients insurance cover for life like government is paying poor people through BISP to reduce poverty. He said endowment fund which is yet be released and utilized for the benefit of these patients should be utilized for providing lifetime insurance cover to the affected persons so that they could be absolved of stigma and discrimination by their own people.

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