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No respite for Larkana’s HIV patients, their families on Eid

June 6, 2019

Parents worry that their children’s futures have been irreparably harmed after contracting HIV. Photo: AFP

As of Wednesday, around 748 people have tested positive for HIV in Larkana’s Ratodero town.

According to a report shared by the provincial health ministry, 611 of them are children under the age of 15 years.

The ministry has said that 26,107 persons have been screened for the virus of which 748 have tested positive for HIV in Ratodero and its surrounding areas.

The report says the age group distribution among the reported HIV infection revealed the most affected age group was of children between 2 and 5 years.

The people of Ratodero took the streets on Eid day over inaction by the Sindh government. PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari spent Eid in Naudero, but did not visit Ratodero, which is only 10 kilometres away.

Related: WHO heading to Larkana for HIV crisis

No other official of the Sindh government visited on Eid either, protesters said.

The outbreak was first reported on April 25, and a major HIV screening programme started on April 28. It was expanded on May 8, with additional health workers being deployed. Testing is ongoing.

Prior to this outbreak, there were just over 1,200 children diagnosed with HIV and receiving antiretroviral treatment in the whole of Pakistan.

On May 16, local authorities established a new antiretroviral treatment clinic for children in Larkana.

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