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            The Aga Khan University Hospital Pakistan

HIV Testing, Treatment and Referral Center NOW OPEN at The Aga Khan University Hospital

<p>​</p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">The National AIDS Control Program in coordination with the Sind AIDS Control Program has established the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) as the HIV Treatment and Referral Centre.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">The public-private partnership aims to encourage HIV-affected individuals to get tested and seek appropriate treatment for HIV in a private and confidential manner. Karachi alone has the highest number of HIV patients across Sindh, as revealed in a report by SACP. This is primarily attributed to the lack of awareness regarding the disease and its treatment, as well as the unavailability of HIV screening and a shortage of medicines.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">AKUH has the largest group of Infectious Diseases specialists in the country which makes this Centre unique as it will provide treatment to both adults and children infected with HIV, as well as offering facilities for the prevention of parent to child transmission all under one roof. At the same time the Centre will also serve as a referral site to manage complicated cases referred from other Centres around the country.  Given the long history of education and research at the AKUH, the Centre will provide hands on training to other HIV care providers on the management of this complex disease and serve to coordinate HIV research in the country. Utilizing the vast network of the AKUH laboratory collection points, and with the help of the Global Fund, the AKUH will provide viral load testing (lab test that measures the number of HIV virus particles in a millilitre of your blood) for HIV patients and free of cost medicines throughout the country. The Centre aims to treat 600 patients in a year.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">At the inauguration ceremony, AKUH Professor and Chief, Dr. Bushra Jamil gave special thanks to Dr. Abdul Baseer Khan Achakzai (National Programme Manager, NACP), Dr. Muhammad Younis Chachar (Programme manager, SACP) and Dr. Sofia Furqan (Senior Programme Officer, NACP) for their continuous help and support in making this HIV Treatment and Referral Centre possible.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Speaking on the need to pay attention to the rising numbers of HIV-affected population, Dr Bushra said that trained health care professionals in both government and private settings, will have to put in a concerted effort to prevent the situation from escalating through a multipronged approach. </span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">HIV compromises a person&#39;s immune system and restricts the body&#39;s ability to fights organisms that cause diseases. HIV can lead to the development of AIDS, which is a chronic, life-threatening condition and is the final stage of infection causing eventual death. Pakistan is one of the few countries where there is a lack of awareness regarding HIV/AIDS. People have been hesitant in getting themselves screened or treated as the disease is considered culturally taboo and is associated with a stigma of shame. However, with increasing access to medical care, this trend is slowly changing. </span></p>