Every year HIV & AIDS claims a large number of lives globally. Pakistan is also facing a threat from this disease due to a number of risk factors which are similar to those which have in the past led to the AIDS epidemic in other countries.
On the occasion of World AIDS Day 2015, I am pleased to share that the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination has made concrete and concerted efforts through this National AIDS Control Programme to address various risk factors. Under the “Programme” a number of significant activities are being carried out for the prevention and control of HIV & AIDS. Many service delivery packages for different vulnerable population groups are also in progress.
In order to minimize the spread of HIV, all public sector hospitals are carrying out free of cost screening of blood and blood products for HIV and Hepatitis B & C. The promulgation of Blood Safety Ordinance both at Federal and Provincial level and supply of diagnostic kits and laboratory consumables and equipment to all provincial, AJK, FANA and federal centers are critical advances in fight against the disease.
One of the factors inhibiting the fight against AIDS is the stigma surrounding HIV resulting in discrimination against the patients. On this day, therefore, I wish to call upon every citizen, particularly the health practitioners, not to discriminate against people living with HIV and protect their human rights and dignity. I also urge government institutions, civil society, philanthropists, and NGOs and every citizen to refuse to perpetuate the stigma surrounding HIV in workplaces and communities and thereby help make Pakistan and the whole world free of HIV & AIDS by 2030.
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