WHO backs response to HIV outbreak in Pakistan
WHO announced today that they will be supporting the response to an outbreak of HIV that has affected more than 600 people in Larkana, Sindh province, Pakistan, with most infections occurring among children and young people.
Experts from the organization and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network will work with the country’s ministry of health to provide guidance regarding HIV testing, pediatric HIV treatment and family counseling. They will also confirm that enough rapid diagnostic tests and antiretroviral medications are available for both adults and children in the area, along with other supplies, including single-use needles and syringes.
The outbreak was first identified on April 25, and on April 28, an HIV screening program was implemented in the region. WHO reported that more than half of the infections were among children aged younger than 5 years. They noted that the screening program was expanded on May 8, and further testing will continue in the area.
In response to the outbreak, local authorities have developed an ART clinic for children in Larkana.
Before the outbreak began, slightly more than 1,200 children were diagnosed with HIV and received ART in the entire country. – by Katherine Bortz