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HIV ”outbreak” causes panic in Pakistan’s Sindh

Officials said that HIV ”outbreak” caused panic in Pakistan’s Sindh, after hundreds were found infected.

Photo by NigeriaHIVInfo.com

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Health Official, Sikandar Memon, said that more than 700 people, mostly children, have tested positive in the town of Ratto Dhero in the province of Sindh since April.

Health authorities decided to screen the entire population of the area after cases of infection in children emerged in March, said Memon, who leads the anti-AIDS programme in the province.

”What comes out as a result is horrible,” he said, while on a visit to the region to coordinate the screening with doctors and medics.

Several medical teams have been screening up to 2,000 people every day since last week, and there are fears the number might go up, according to the Drr Masood Solangi, Director-General of Health for the region.

Ratto Dhero is a small poverty-stricken town in the district of Larkana where more than 1,500 people were found infected in 2018

Health experts said the virus had been spread through the re-use of infected syringes by poorly trained medical practitioners.

Such practitioners are common in rural Pakistan due to the lack of trained health workers and lax regulations.

The spread started with sex workers and drug addicts, but unsafe medical practices made it into an epidemic, said Dr Fatima Meeran, an HIV expert who works in the region.

There are around 170,000 registered HIV-infected people in Pakistan, according to the National AIDS Programme in the capital Islamabad. . (Xinhua/NAN)


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