Pakistan, which was previously thought as a country with low prevalence of infection, has now moved up to the group of “Countries in Transition” with a concentrated epidemic among high risk groups, where the AIDS problem is increasing since last five years, according to the private new chanel Express News The.

There are 5,000 registered cases and 97,400 estimated cases of HIV/AIDS in Pakistan in 2009, and this figure is continuously increasing, local newspaper reported Tuesday.

It was reported that there were 5,000 registered cases and 80,000 estimated cases of HIV/AIDS in 2008 in Pakistan. If proper screening is carried out, the number of infected persons might be running in millions, the newspaper said.

“Curiosity about sex and drugs, negative peer pressure, and economic frustration might all lead young people to engage in behaviors which could lead to HIV infection,” Dr Muhammad Ashraf Chaudhry, head of Community Medicine at Islamabad Medical & Dental College, told reporters in connection with World AIDS Day which isbeing observed Tuesday across the world.

There are serious risk factors in Pakistan that put the country in danger of facing a rapid spread of HIV, such as widespread poverty, significant power imbalances in men and women, labor migration, lack of any system to check the HIV positive deported persons, indiscriminate transfusion of unscreened blood, rising number of drug addicts and low condom use rates.

Chaudhry said that injecting drugs users (IDUs), as well as male sex workers are the key drivers. “In 2005-2006, only 9 percent of the IDUs tested were found to be HIV positive, this percentage increased to 15.8 percent in 2006-2007, and more than 20 percent in 2007-2008,” he added.

According to sources, Pakistan’s National AIDS Control Program(NCP) is providing free treatment to any person found to be suffering from AIDS through its 20 AIDS Treatment Centers all over the country.

World AIDS Day, observed each year on Dec. 1, is dedicated to raising awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It provides an opportunity to express solidarity and support for those living with HIV/AIDS, and to ensure that pandemic is kept on the national and international agenda.

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