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New realities

This year, the World AIDS Day is really important for Pakistan after the discovery of a number of HIV/AIDS cases in the town of Ratodero in Sindh. Media’s attention and public reaction to the cases was a powerful reminder of the apathy of successive governments and our society towards the global epidemic, for which so far no cure has been found. Earlier, the World AIDS Day was hardly acknowledged in Pakistan as the people would regard HIV/AIDS as a sub-Saharan African problem or a remote disease. Our continuous disregard to the disease and precautionary ignorance has delivered it at our doorstep. Now is the need of the hour to inform the public that the epidemic, which has millions as positive cases, can be contained as medical discoveries have let the people tested positive to live longer, healthier lives. Many people tested HIV/AIDS positive have been outcast by communities in different areas of Pakistan because of social stigma of being infected. Pakistan lacks data on deaths from the infectious killer but worldwide, HIV/AIDS remains the leading life taker. According to UNAID, there are 160,000 HIV positive people in Pakistan, and they are those who are registered with the state-run AIDS control programme. The number could be worse as many even do not know if they are infected or not, thanks to prevailing ignorance about the disease and the shortage of testing and screening facilities across the country. It is time the disease is tackled so that a new generation remains safe from the infectious catastrophe.
The discovery of 320 cases in Punjab districts in October alone emphasises the fact that a mass screening needs to be held across Pakistan as each of us should know our HIV/AIDS status. Similarly, each of us needs to play our due role in educating those communities about the lurking danger who may not know the deadly scale of the infectious killer. Also, our medical communities also should do research and collaborate with international bodies working on finding possible ways to manage the disease. No one is sure about when a cure to the disease will be found, until then only precautionary measures can save people. Those tested positive should not be tagged, instead they should be treated as normal people.



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Pakistan squad for ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 named

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