On 25 April 2019, the local administration in Larkana district was alerted by media reports of a surge in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases among children in Ratodero Taluka, Larkana district, Sindh province. From 25 April through 28 June 2019, a total of 30,192 people were screened for HIV, of which 876 were found positive. Eighty-two per cent (719/876) of these were below the age of 15 years. Illiteracy, lack of awareness in rural areas, reusing of contaminated disposable syringes, malpractice by impersonators as healthcare providers & non-adherence due to lack of access or high cost of antiretroviral therapy (ART) are the leading causes of HIV crisis in Pakistan.
The recurrence of HIV epidemics within a short period of time, first in Punjab and then in Sindh, has prompted initiatives to prevent such crises in the future. It is important to educate the community about preventative methods, treatment options and importance of adherence to treatment.
The Association of Pakistani Physicians of New England (APPNE) in collaboration with HIV Communication Project team and experts from several institutions is working to help local governments and institutions to deal with the HIV disease situation in Pakistan through the HIV Capacity Building Project. It aims to communicate HIV knowledge to both providers and patients using an open dialogue about HIV disease.
Our affiliate member Dr Fizza Gillani in collaboration with Brown University Center For AIDS Research (CFAR) did series of webinars in May-June, 2019 for awareness of HIV, it's transmission and co-infections. She has also personally visited Pakistan multiple times and has collaborated with National AIDS Control Program (NACP). In an effort towards early detection and treatment, APPNE has planned a fundraiser for providing HIV Diagnostic kits and Disposable syringes to the NACP. Our goal is to collect $30,000 to help fight HIV crisis. You can alsocontribute to this worthy project by donating to APPNE.