Tuesday Apr 30, 2019
LARKANA: Police arrested a doctor suspected to be responsible for the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Larkana’s Ratodero district, Geo News reported on Tuesday.
Dr Muzaffar Ghanghar, who is employed at a public hospital, is an HIV patient himself, police said, as they registered a case against the accused and produced him before a local court.
The number of HIV-positive cases rose to 39 as panic gripped the district and authorities tried to ascertain the causes behind the spread of the virus among the residents.
Twenty-two children are among the patients diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes the deadly AIDS disease which claimed a million lives worldwide in 2016.
Protesting the allegations against him, Dr Muzaffar Ghanghar termed the case a "conspiracy" against him and said he was not aware of his condition.
"The Sindh Healthcare Commission is conspiring against me. If I had known about [HIV/AIDS] then I would have sought treatment. I did not experience any pain," he said.
Dr Sikander Memon, in-charge of the Aids Control Programme in Sindh, said a team will arrive in Ratodero next week to determine the causes behind the transmission of the HIV among the residents.
According to an estimate by Dr Memon, there are over 100,000 HIV-positive people in Sindh, however, the Aids Control Programme has only 10,350 registered patients who are provided treatment.
Larkana continues to top the list of districts most affected by HIV in Sindh, with the total number of AIDS patients in Larkana at more than 2,400.
In total, 76.1 million people worldwide have been infected with HIV, since the epidemic started in the 1980s. Some 35 million have died.
As yet, there is no HIV vaccine or cure, and infected people rely on lifelong anti-retroviral therapy to stop the virus replicating.
Without treatment, HIV-infected people go on to develop AIDS, a syndrome that weakens the immune system and leaves the body exposed to opportunistic infections such as tuberculosis, and some types of cancer.
Treatment carries side-effects and is costly, but allows infected people to be healthier for longer.