HIV in Pakistan: An emerging menace


Although the following article is written by 2 Pakistani Medical Students and it is simply a research article for their class, I am posting it in full with my follow up thoughts after the article. Pity what has come down to this so called Islamic Republic of Pakistan. My thought are intended on the issue and not directed towards these students or the Medical College or the Association!!

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“HIV in Pakistan: An emerging menace”

By Abdul Rahman, Syed Muhammad Ali Saad: Journal of Pakistan Medical Association- Student Section

Madam, HIV is a growing health concern in this part of the world as we live in a low prevalence high risk country for HIV spread, sharing our borders with the HIV havocked India. HIV drug abuse, alarming rise in non-marital sex and lack of knowledge about HIV/AIDS transmission compounded with a lethargic government response and distressing social demographics have eventually led us to experience and confront the unfortunate HIV/AIDS epidemics.[1] According to UNAIDS estimates of 2007, HIV cases increased from 51,000 in 2001 to 96,000, majority being males (72%).[2]

HIV prevalence reached 31% amongst the Injection Drug Users (IDUs) in 2007 in Karachi making them the most vulnerable group.[3] Males migrating from rural to urban areas for earning usually get involved in unsafe sexual practices being helped by the emergence of “red light areas” in the metropolitan cities.[4] Professional blood donors and inadequate blood screening techniques worsen the scenario.

A Federal Committee on AIDS was founded by the Ministry of Health in 1987 followed by National AIDS control Program looking forward to prevention of HIV transmission, screening blood transfusions and establishment of a mass surveillance system. A major boost came in 2004 with the establishment of Enhanced HIV/ AIDS Control Program funded by World Bank. By employing the NGOs it sought to provide HIV prevention services to IDUs and sex workers along with other susceptible masses. However, it still has to go a long way in educating the masses regarding HIV transmission and eliminating their stigmas and misconceptions about the disease. HIV treatment started in 2005. Currently around 900 individuals are getting HIV medication free of charge.[1]

Unfortunately awareness about HIV/ AIDS in the general population is low. A study in Islamabad revealed that 60% of secondary school teachers still thought that HIV/AIDS was insignificant in our society.[5] By means of education and awareness about HIV/AIDS amongst the masses, use of condoms during sexual intercourse, discouraging non marital sex and wide spread screening of the high risk populations, we will be able to keep our doors shut to massive HIV/AIDS epidemics in the future.

One wonders if universal tattooing of HIV/AIDS patients in a specific position can be a useful preventive measure. As tattooing will act as a deterrent for future disease transmission, human right activists may object to this proposal as the right of HIV/AIDS patients will be jeopardized!

Abdul Rahman, Syed Muhammad Ali Saad

Class of 2011, Dow Medical College, Karachi.

References

1.Rai MA, Warraich HJ, Ali SH, Nerurkar VR. HIV/AIDS in Pakistan: the battle begins. Retrovirology 2007; 4: 22.

2.WHO, UNAIDS and UNICEF. Epidemiological fact sheet on HIV and AIDS: Pakistan, 2008.

3.HIV Second Generation Surveillance in Pakistan, National Report Round 2. In National AIDS Control Programme Ministry of Health, Government of Pakistan and Canada-Pakistan HIV/AIDS Surveillance Project, 2006-7.

4.Khawaja ZA, Gibney L, Ahmed AJ, Vermund SH. HIV/AIDS and its risk factors in Pakistan. AIDS 1997; 11: 843-8.

5.Shaikh IA, Shaikh MA. Teachers attitudes about HIV/AIDS prevention education in secondary schools. J Coll Physicians Surg Pak 2005; 15: 582.

[end of original article]

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HIV/Aids is a growing issue in Pakistan, and hugely ignored by the Health Ministry of Pakistan (like they focus on any other health issues in Pakistan except polio drops!). What government needs to do is put stop to this prostitution business. Why should the NGOs spend time and money on teaching them how to engage in prostitution and Zina adultery (yea this A word) with a condom on? Why they don’t teach them to quit this fahash activities and try to earn a Halaal earning.

Zina (Adultery/ Fornication) is clearly haraam (prohibited) in Islam, and according to the law of Islam (Sharia) there are strict punishments regarding it.  Yes the economy is not good and job opportunity for many women are not that many, so what does that mean they should engage in prostitution.  So like if a guy cannot find a job, he should be a part of gangs to loot people and engage in killing people for mafia because that will bring him some dough!

I was astonished to read in the first paragraph about “alarming rise in non-marital sex.” I don’t know whether it is related to the sex workers or the general public is implied here, since the research article doesn’t mention the details of it. Whatever it may be, it is just astonishing.

Last year, UN had some kind of Sex Workshop in the metropolitan city Karachi, in which they trained sex workers on these issues and such. UN is of no concern to me here, what matters is where the Pakistani Nation is heading towards. What is an honor in encouraging or ignoring such activities? What benefit does it gives to the nation? none.

Is this the characteristics of this Muslim Nation? When we compare the actions with what the majority claims to believe in it goes contrary to the text!

Allah says in the Noble Quran:

“And come not near unto adultery. Lo! it is an abomination and an evil way” (Al-Isra’ 17: 32).

“(And the servants of the Beneficent) are those who do not invoke another god with Allah, and who do not…commit fornication/adultery, for whoever does that shall receive the penalty; for him shall the torment be doubled on the day of resurrection, and therein he shall abide forever, disgraced, save him who repents and believes and does good works; those, Allah shall change their misdeeds into good works. And Allah is Forgiving, Compassionate)” (Al-Furqan 25: 68-70).

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“When adultery becomes rampant in a nation Allah will expose them to His chastisement.” (Abu Ya`la)

When promiscuous behavior becomes rampant in a nation, Allah will send upon them such (strange) diseases that their own ancestors never heard of.” (At-Tabarani)

“O mankind! Beware of fornication/adultery for it entails six dire consequences: three of them relating to this world and three to the next world. As for the three that are related to this world, they are the following: it removes the glow of one’s face, brings poverty, and reduces the life-span. As for its dire consequences in the next world they are: it brings down the wrath of Allah upon the person, subjects him to terrible reckoning, and finally casts him in hell-fire” (Al-Bayhaqi).

May Allah show us all guidance, ameen.

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2 Comments

Filed under Islam, Pakistan, Umer Sultan

2 responses to “HIV in Pakistan: An emerging menace

  1. Moe

    Umer, you say:

    “Zina (Adultery/ Fornication) is clearly haraam (prohibited) in , and according to the law of Islam (Sharia) there are strict punishments regarding it. Yes the economy is not good and job opportunity for many women are not that many, so what does that mean they should engage in prostitution. So like if a guy cannot find a job, he should be a part of gangs to loot people and engage in killing people for mafia because that will bring him some dough!”

    As you no doubt know, these prohibitions, usually based on religious law exist in Christian nations as well. Certainly western Christian nations are losing this fight and as hard as it is, I expect Islamic nations too will have to learn that these things can’t be stopped by laws.

    I think my point – for you – is that prostitution and criminal gangs will always exist where there are not other more acceptable ways of earning a living and putting food on the table.

    And I assume the UN’s efforts, in terms of things like condoms, show that they accept that reality and focus their attention on mitigating the results – such as the spread of disease.

    I think the only way that humans can attack these awful problems are at the ‘before’ and ‘after’ points. Before means keeping people from falling into poverty and after means deal as best you can with the results to protect the larger society.

    Here in the US, it is interesting that the States who are strictest about these things have, in reality, the worst records. That is, they have very prohibitive laws, but they also have the highest numbers of out of marriage sex and pregnancy.

    These are problems everywhere, as are the causes and the effects. We have to ‘choose our fight’ where the effort will have the best result. (My opinion.)

    • I would agree that ending poverty and radically decreasing unemployment will decrease the prostitution business.

      Before any laws are enforced, poverty-unemployment- & the ignorance of Islam- these 3 things need to be confronted.

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