Social media can play role for HIV awareness: Shaukatullah

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Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) Engineer Shaukatullah Khan on Friday said that the social media could play a positive role to bring awareness among people on HIV/AIDS. 

He said these words on World AIDS Day organized by World Health Organization and UNICEF at Sheikh Zaid Islamic Centre, University of Peshawar.

The marginalized population the poor, women and children were the most vulnerable to this disease. He added that prevention and seeking health care the devastating effect of HIV and AIDS, adding that this was our joint responsibility to improve awareness in general masses about HIV and AIDS.

World AIDS Day observed worldwide on December 1 to raise the awareness about HIV and AIDS and theme of World AIDS Day from 2011 to 2015 is “Getting to Zero, zero new HIV infection, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS related deaths.” 

On the occasion, from the UNICEF, Dr.Rafiq said that there were 98,400 people living with HIV in Pakistan and 28,000 of which were women and 3000 were the children less than 15 years.

Dr.Rafiq added that the disease of HIV and AIDS spread through intravenous needles for taking drug, unsafe blood transfusion, and unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners and from parents to children. 

He also added that 88% women in Fata had no knowledge about HIV/AIDS, adding that highest percentage of ignorance was observed in D.I. Khan at the ratio of 98.6. 

Dr.Muhammad Farooq said that economic growth and development requires a strong working age population for agriculture, industrial sector, education and other sector of economic activities. The scale of HIV/AIDS infection has economic implication at the level of households, national budget and business.

On the occasion provincial manager of KP for HIV/ AIDS Dr.Sheer Muhammad said that in Family Care Centre Hayatabad Medical Complex, the highest numbers of HIV positive cases were seen from North Waziristan, Kurram and Khyber Agency. In total there were 260 registered cases at HMC Peshawar including 161 male, 76 female and 23 children, adding that so far they have registered in two centre at HMC and Kohat 1184 cases from 2011 to on wards, while this ratio might be more because people did not disclose their disease.

He added that in Hayatabad centre after continuous treatment of the parents of HIV/ AIDS, the birth of 26 baby’s from the infected parents result is negative.

He also said that people must saved them selves from Quaker dentist as well as asking from briber to use new blades because it is also cause of HIV/AIDS.

Among other speakers were professor Dost Muhammad and Dr.Mohammad Farooq of Sheikh Zaid Islamic Centre and Dean of the University of Peshawar Dr.Qibla Ayaz were highlighted the role of Islam in prevention of HIV/AIDS. 

Agency said; Experts at the Worlds AIDS Day seminar at the Sheikh Zayed Islamic Centre, University of Peshawar on Friday had termed displacement and economic vulnerability as the main reasons behind the spread of Acquired Immunity Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). 

They said overseas Pakistanis especially those living in the gulf and Middle East were the prime carrier of Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV), and once they come or were forced to go back to Pakistan, they transmit it to their wives. Several Afghans within the system were also suffering from the disease and were transmitting it to others in Pakistan.

They experts said women were the silent victim of the disease in the country. The disease was being transmitted among the loved ones whom we care the most, and called for getting to zero for new cases in Pakistan.

Addressing the public health issues in Pakistan was part of the millennium development goals, said Mr. Osama the outgoing country director for UNAIDS in Pakistan. He added extra marital relations was not the sole reason for spread of the disease, in fact use of injectable drugs and transfusion of unsafe blood is the main cause in country’s like Pakistan.

He urged the need for a tangible role from Islamic scholars and civil society for eradication of the AIDS.

The chief guest in his address said that they have to put aside our cultural and religious barriers to effectively control AIDS. He added most of the patients do not undergo a test for HIV due to social norms of the country and the intuition that the disease is only spread through doing sex other than spouse.

Vice Chancellor, University of Peshawar, Prof. Dr. Qibla Ayaz said prevalence of AIDS in the country was due to the personal interacting process with the people in world. The world has become globalize, and that was why some diseases which were not known in this region are found here nowadays owing to the frequent traveling and existence of heterogeneous societies, he added.

Secretary Social Sector, Fata Dr. Aftab Durrani said, cases of AIDS in Pakistan appeared in late 1980s and today they have around ninety eight thousand declared cases in the country. The number of carriers who never undergo a test for the disease is two times more than this number, he added.

Dr. Muhamamd Rafiq of UNICEF categorized denial as the main cause of the spread of HIV in Pakistan. He requested people to take AIDS as a disease and not as a sin.