Sindh Assembly Opposition Leader Haleem Adil Sheikh, while expressing concerns over the widespread prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the province, demanded fully functional screening facilities at the grass-root level to check the alarming situation.
The leader of the opposition raised the issue through a letter addressing the Sindh chief secretary and health secretary on Wednesday. He said HIV/AIDS was spreading across the province due to the lack of screening of patients and a large number of undiagnosed patients were spreading the disease. He said it was not possible to know the exact number of infected people.
Sheikh, while quoting media reports on the startling situation of HIV/AIDS in the province, pointed to the rising numbers of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B & C cases in Sindh. Data released by the Sindh Blood Transfusion Authority (SBTA) revealed that 24,088 individuals were infected with one or more infectious diseases and were unfit for blood donation after their samples were screened at blood banks in 24 districts during the first eight months of 2021, he noted.
The HIV infection was detected in 1,282 people in Karachi and it was continuously increasing in Larkana as more than 5,000 HIV cases, including children and pregnant women were reported in the district. Haleem Adil said that in Larkana, more than 40 children infected with the disease had lost their lives.
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He said that HIV/AIDs cases were also reported from Hyderabad, Sukkur, Sanghar, Thatta, Shikarpur, Jacobabad and other districts of the Province. Haleem observed that Sindh AIDS Control Program has failed to fully screen the Ratodero town, while one of the major reasons for the spread of AIDS was the lack of screening facilities and concealment of the disease by infected persons.
He said that Sindh Government has failed to take appropriate measures to prevent spread of the deadly diseases. The opposition leader continued this was despite health experts across the province stressing, time and again, the need to screen for of HIV/AIDS and other transmitting diseases.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2021.