High Rate of IDUs in Pakistan Living With HIV/AIDS, Official Says
Approximately 30% of Pakistan's injection drug users are living with HIV/AIDS, Arshad Altaf -- senior provincial surveillance support officer with an HIV/AIDS surveillance program called the Sindh AIDS Control Program that is managed jointly by Canada and Pakistan -- said on Wednesday at the International Symposium on Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Pakistan's Daily Times reports. According to the Times, 7.5% of IDUs living with HIV/AIDS in Pakistan are male commercial sex workers and 3% are transgender sex workers.
Altaf also said the rapid increase in Pakistan's population is a major factor in the spread of HIV in the country, adding, "Unless reasonable efforts are made to contain the disease, it may infect the general population in the near future." Arif Hassan, a consultant at the Urban Resource Center, said the "lack of resources and education, coupled with the utter disregard for social and environmental conditions in poor settlements, has led to congestion in the city." He also said that this is "aggravating" the spread of HIV/AIDS and "harming the mental and physical health of the citizens." The symposium is scheduled to continue through Thursday and also will focus on tuberculosis and hepatitis C in Pakistan (Daily Times, 11/12).