ISLAMABAD - There are currently around 132,000 HIV/AIDS patients in Pakistan, a staggering increase of 39,000 in comparison with last year’s figure. These figures have been disclosed in a recently-concluded nationwide survey of HIV/AIDS patients.
Some 60 teams visited 20 cities nationwide and collected data from 5,000 locations. The survey revealed that in a span of one year, the number of patients suffering from the life-long disease has increased by 39,000, climbing to 132,000 patients in the country.
According to the survey, Pakistan’s most populous province, Punjab, has the highest number of HIV/AIDS patients — 60,000. There are up to 52,000 patients in Sindh and 11,000 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, while three cases were reported in Balochistan. In the federal capital Islamabad, there are 6,000 registered HIV/AIDS patients.
The initial report shows intravenous drugs users are the largest group of people infected by the disease.
According to MedlinePlus, HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It harms a person’s immune system by destroying the white blood cells that fight infection. This puts them at risk for serious infections and certain cancers. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. It is the final stage of infection with HIV. Not everyone with HIV develops AIDS.
HIV most often spreads through unprotected sex with an infected person. It may also spread by sharing drug needles or through contact with the blood of an infected person. Women can give it to their babies during pregnancy or childbirth.
The first signs of HIV infection may be swollen glands and flu-like symptoms. These may come and go within two to four weeks. Severe symptoms may not appear until months or years later.