Speakers stressed on the importance of surveillance and counseling

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Speakers stressed on the importance of surveillance and counseling

To commemorate World AIDS Day 2010, Department of Paediatrics, Dow University of Health Science & Civil Hospital Karachi in collaboration with Sindh AIDS Control Program, Naya Qadam Project (PAVHNA) and Konpal (Child abuse prevention Society) organized a Seminar on “Paediatric HIV infection” recently at DMC, Karachi.

Prof. Abdul Ghaffar Billoo speaking as Chief Guest on the occasion stressed the need for center at government hospital where state-of-art-treatment can be provided to the entire family. He also stressed the importance of surveillance and counseling to the entire family.

He appreciated the efforts of organizers in organizing a seminar on this fast emerging infection and making Civil Hospital Karachi a treatment centre for HIV infection in children.

Dr. Ashraf Memon briefed the audience about the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS. He described in detail the global and national incidence. He informed the audience that about 100,000 peoples are estimated to be infected with HIV in Pakistan. The number of reported cases are about 7574 including 3629 cases from Sindh Province alone (about 45% of total burden). He said that up to June 2003 deported Pakistanis from Gulf Countries was single largest group in the country identified with HIV infection.and predominant mode of transmission of HIV infection in Pakistan was through Sex.

In June 2003, the first outbreak of HIV infection amongst IDUs reported from Larkana. HIV transmission through injecting drug use are now more efficient mode of transmission, IDUs can transmit infection not only through sharing of needles and syringes but also through sex and by selling blood (professional blood donors). They are also highly mobile population.

Prof. Aisha Mehnaz in her address said that the prevalence of HIV infection has increased over the years. In the last 5 years Pakistan has emerged from the low prevalence area to concentrated HIV epidemic area which is described as < 1% of HIV prevalence in the general population, but over 5% prevalence in high risk groups.

The rate of parents to child transmission is increasing. As most of the HIV infected adults are already married, majority don’t know their HIV status and they are transmission HIV infection to their babies. Our focus is to pick the vertical transmission rate among the families.

She also informed the audience that a Paediatric treatment centre is established at department of Paediatric, DMC/CHK so now the treatment for HIV infection will be available to the entire family under one roof, an adult HIV treatment center is already functioning in CHK.

The Paediatric treatment centre will also act as training resource centre for Paediatrics, for under-graduate and post graduates in HIV infection. The centre will also act as research and surveillance centre for Paediatric HIV, a new concept in Pakistan.

Dr. Asma Eijaz discussed anti-retro viral therapy in children.

In the end a panel discussion was held where the speakers interacted with the audience and answered pertinent question regarding HIV/AIDS.