HIV Epidemic Is Growing in Pakistan
Pakistan is one of the few countries in the Asia Pacific Region where new HIV infections are rising. Because of the increase in diagnoses, experts have legitimate concerns that the disease could spread to the masses.
Between 2010 and 2022, this growth was 84%. On the one hand, experts admit that one of the reasons for the sharp increase may be related to more tests, but on the other, it does not make the situation any less frightening.
Even though new HIV infections are increasing in all four of Pakistan's provinces, most patients live in just two of them. The epidemic remains largely concentrated in key populations, including people who inject drugs, the transgender community, sex workers, and men who have sex with men. But the studies in 2019 show that the number of cases when disease transmissions from key to bridging populations (spouses, partners, and clients) are on the rise. From April to December, 2019, more than 800 children and 200 adults tested positive for HIV. This increase was triggered by unsafe injections and poor blood safety in medical facilities. Steps have been taken, but the demand for blood experiences is still great, and people still go to unregistered places.
Unfortunately, at this time, only 21% of people living with HIV in Pakistan are aware of their status, and just 12% are on treatment.
New initiatives should be piloted, including pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention (PrEP), HIV self-testing, and opiate agonist therapy, and education about PrEP and HIV testing services is crucial.