Pakistani Health Care Workers Traveling to India To Learn About HIV/AIDS Treatment
Pakistan this month is sending a group of five doctors and five nurses to the Tata Institute for Social Sciences in Mumbai, India, to learn about HIV/AIDS treatment, a Pakistani health official said on Thursday, BBC News reports (BBC News, 2/10). Asma Bukhari, a manager at Pakistan's National AIDS Control Program, said at a press conference that India was chosen because of its "vast experience" in treating HIV-positive people, similarities between the two countries' social conditions and cost-effectiveness, according to the PTI/Times of India. She added that the United Kingdom's Department of International Development will pay for the training (PTI/Times of India, 2/10). Pakistan has recorded 2,612 HIV/AIDS cases, but Bukhari said health officials estimate that as many as 70,000 to 80,000 Pakistanis were living with the disease in 2002 and 2003, according to the Associated Press. "There has been no change in these figures as far as we know," Bukhari said, adding that HIV prevalence in Pakistan is lower than in other countries "mainly because of awareness and our better social and Islamic values." However, fear and the stigma surrounding the disease might prevent many HIV-positive people from seeking testing and treatment, the Associated Press reports. "We cannot rule out the possibility of an HIV/AIDS epidemic in the near future," Bukhari said (Ahmad, Associated Press, 2/10). During the press conference, Pakistani Health Secretary Syed Anwar Mehmood directed the NACP to develop an "effective [HIV/AIDS] awareness strategy, which could have a wide ranging impact on different high-risk groups," the PTI/Times of India reports (PTI/Times of India, 2/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.