Five-year-old boy succumbs to AIDS as HIV cases toll in Ratodero reaches 733

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LARKANA:  A five-year-old boy died of AIDS in Ghulam Hussan Hakro village in Ratodero on Friday as five new HIV positive cases emerged out of 225 screened at a camp in the area, bringing the total HIV positive cases toll to 733.

Out of these 733 cases, 598 are children and 135 adults and so far 25,433 people out of general population have been tested in Ratodero since April 25. However, no case was detected at screening camps of Banguldero and Naundero where 125 people were screened.

Meanwhile, a WHO team headed by Oliver Morgan visited Taluka Headquarter Hospital (THQ) in Ratodero, met with the technicians working at the blood screening camps and inquired about the testing methods. They were reportedly astonished at the manual way of blood screening. The team also visited ART Center in Larkana where they also expressed their dissatisfaction as there was no waiting room for the affected patients, entry data was not being made properly and they asked as to why children are sent to Civil Hospital for tests which is far away from the center.

The experts warned that Larkana has “all the ingredients of an exploding HIV epidemic in the near or distant future”.

Larkana came into the HIV limelight in June 2003 when the first outbreak of HIV among IDUs was reported in which 17 IDUs out of 175 were confirmed positive.

By 2016, another outbreak was reported in Larkana, this time among 56 dialysis patients in Chandka Medical College Hospital’s Dialysis Center. The National AIDS Control Programme did its own investigation. Dialysis patients were screened using the HIV rapid test kits (ImuMedOne Step Diagnostic Test). Fifty-six of 205 patients (27.3%) tested HIV seropositive.