Hundreds of children in Pakistan have been infected with HIV. Used needles could be the cause

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – In recent weeks the Pakistani health authorities have been trying to control the HIV epidemic that developed in the south of the country after the virus was diagnosed in about 700 people, most of them children.

Local health officials believe the apidemia can be traced back, in part, to unsterilized syringes used for vaccination programs on children in the southern Sindh province. This event has spread anxiety in Pakistan, a country that has already faced distrust in its health system and skepticism in its immunization programs.

“Initial investigations reveal that used syringes have been repacked, which can not only significantly increase the number of HIV cases but also other diseases,” Zafar Mirza, the highest Pakistani health official said last week . “The use of unsafe syringes could be one of the causes of the spread of the disease, but the government is making extensive efforts to ascertain the exact cause .

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Unsafe healthcare “drives spread of African HIV”

Since the 1980s most experts have assumed that heterosexual sex transmitted 90% of HIV in Africa. In the March International Journal of STD and AIDS, an international team of HIV specialists presents groundbreaking evidence to challenge this consensus, with “profound implications” for public health in Africa.

In a series of articles, Dr David Gisselquist, Mr John Potterat and colleagues argue that the spread of HIV infections in Africa is closely linked to medical care. In their unique study of existing data from across the continent they estimate that only about a third of HIV infections are sexually transmitted. Their evidence suggests that “health care exposures caused more HIV than sexual transmission”, with contaminated medical injections being the biggest risk. …

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