Pakistani Doctor Arrested After Infecting 90 People Including 65 Children By HIV Syringe

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  1. Mahmoud Abudeif

    Mahmoud Abudeif Golden Member

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    At least 90 people, including 65 children, are believed to have been infected with the HIV virus in Pakistan by a doctor using a contaminated syringe, officials said today.

    Authorities were first alerted last week after 18 children from a town on the outskirts of Larkana tested positive for the virus, which causes AIDS.

    Health officials then carried out wider screenings and dozens more infections were found.

    Police say they have now arrested an unnamed doctor, who they say also has HIV.

    'More than 90 people have tested HIV positive and the number of children is around 65,' Dr Abdul Rehaman, a district health official in Larkana, told AFP.

    A second official confirmed the outbreak, although gave slightly different figures.

    Authorities said they traced the outbreak to a single doctor, who appears to have been using a contaminated syringe on patients.

    Azra Pechuho, Sindh province's health minister, confirmed his arrest.

    'The blood of the parents of the infected children was also tested, but their results were negative,' Pechuho added.

    Officials have since launched an even larger testing and education drive.

    Pakistan is considered a low prevalence country for HIV, but the disease is expanding mostly among intravenous drug users, sex workers and migrant labourers returning from the Gulf.

    HIV-positive patients must receive antiretroviral (ART) treatment to manage their disease. More than 21 million people currently receive regular ART medication, which suppresses the virus. That's only around 59 percent of global HIV sufferers.

    Treatment can slow or prevent progression from one stage to the next. Also, people with HIV who take HIV medicine as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.

    Since the start of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, more than 77 million people have become infected with HIV. Almost half of them - 35.4 million - have died of AIDS.

    Global health experts say the fight against HIV is at a precarious point, with the annual number of AIDS deaths falling and the number of people getting antiretroviral treatment rising, but the number of new infections stubbornly high at around 1.8 million new cases a year worldwide.


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    Last edited: May 4, 2019

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