ISLAMABAD: World Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Day was observed in different parts of the country on Saturday to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic.
Several activities were arranged by various public and private organisations to mark the day by arranging awareness walks, seminars and discussions to educate people about the disease.
In his message on the occasion, President Arif Alvi reiterated the government’s commitment to work towards the elimination of HIV and AIDS from the country. “The federal and provincial governments are cognizant of their responsibilities and accord high priority to prevention and treatment of this disease,” he said.
The president said that it was heartening to learn that the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination was making concerted efforts to address various risk factors associated with HIV and AIDS.
He added that the government of Pakistan was providing high impact comprehensive HIV prevention services as well as free of cost HIV diagnostic and curative services to key affected populations and people living with HIV.
Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Sardar Usman Buzdar said that the adoption of necessary precautionary measures was very important to remain safe from the deadly disease of AIDS.
“The provincial government is fully vigilant and active regarding the necessary measures to keep people safe from the HIV. However, civil society members and voluntary organisations should also lend a helping hand to the government in this regard,” he stated.
National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) Programme Manager Dr Baseer Khan Achkzai, in his message to the nation, said that the government was working on a strategy to remove barriers and challenges in protecting people from carrying HIV/AIDS.
He said that a systematic and well-managed coordination was critical to the rapid progress of achieving targets related to the disease’s control.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed more than 35 million lives so far. Around 940,000 people died from HIV-related causes globally in 2017.
HIV infection is often diagnosed through rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) which detect the presence or absence of HIV antibodies. Most often these tests provide same-day test results, which are essential for same-day diagnosis and early treatment and care.