Pakistan town hit with HIV outbreak among hundreds of children | DW News

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  • DW News published this video item, entitled “Pakistan town hit with HIV outbreak among hundreds of children | DW News” – below is their description.

    The town of Rato Dero, in southern Pakistan’s Sindh province, is struggling to deal with an outbreak of HIV. The cluster was reported in April 2019. Most of those affected were children. When it emerged that majority of cases appeared to be linked to one doctor, the authorities took action. But many families are still suffering.

    A medical center was set up in response to the mass outbreak of HIV among children in the town in 2019. The center hands out the anti-retroviral drugs used to treat HIV for free. But families have to cover all other costs.

    They say this is wrong – especially as the tragedy that hit their community two years ago could have been avoided.

    Dr. Imran Akbar Arbani was the one who raised the alarm about a growing number of HIV cases among children.

    Reports said the cases were linked to the reuse of dirty syringes by one doctor in the town.

    He denied the charges. He was arrested but is now out on bail. Some accused the authorities of scapegoating the doctor to try to cover up the government’s own shortcomings and its failure to provide even basic health care for the majority of people.

    In the aftermath of the disaster the regional government tried to improve the situation by checking doctors were following the rules. But critics say they have since become less strict, and for the families and children in the communities hit by the HIV outbreak there’s still no end in sight to their suffering.

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    In This Story: HIV

    The human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) are two species of Lentivirus (a subgroup of retrovirus) that infect humans. Over time, they cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive.

    Without treatment, average survival time after infection with HIV is estimated to be 9 to 11 years, depending on the HIV subtype. In most cases, HIV is a sexually transmitted infection and occurs by contact with or transfer of blood, pre-ejaculate, semen, and vaginal fluids. Research has shown (for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples) that HIV is untransmittable through condomless sexual intercourse if the HIV-positive partner has a consistently undetectable viral load.

    Non-sexual transmission can occur from an infected mother to her infant during pregnancy, during childbirth by exposure to her blood or vaginal fluid, and through breast milk. Within these bodily fluids, HIV is present as both free virus particles and virus within infected immune cells.

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  • In This Story: Pakistan

    Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It has a population exceeding 212.2 million, including the world’s second-largest Muslim population. It has an area of 881,913 square kilometres (340,509 square miles).

    Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China to the northeast. It is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor in the northwest, and also shares a maritime border with Oman.

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