PR Lahore - Like across the world, the AIDS Day will be marked today to create awareness. The World AIDS Day is one of the eight official global public health campaigns. It is estimated over 36 million people globally are living with HIV/AIDS.

 “Today, AIDS is still one of the greatest public health challenges faced by low and middle-income countries. There are 36.7 million individuals living with AIDS in the world, out of which 2.1 million are children less than 15,” Dr Faisal Sultan, CEO and Consultant Infectious Diseases at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, said on the eve of World AIDS Day. According to a press release, Dr Faisal said AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is the last stage of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) when the body can no longer fight life-threatening infections.

He went on to say: “A patient is diagnosed with AIDS when the patient’s CD4 count falls below the defined threshold.  The development of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) marks the latest advancement in the treatment of HIV due to which HIV positive patients can now expect to lead a long and healthy life.”

Discussing symptoms, he explained that AIDS include consistent weight loss, skin diseases, and repeated occurrence of infections such as pneumonia. Speaking about the preventive measures, Dr Sultan laid stress on public awareness about the transmission of HIV such as avoiding used syringes, transfusion of blood that is not screened, and unprotected sex.

He added: “This potentially fatal disease exists in almost every country. HIV is mainly transmitted through blood and sexual intercourse. However, today, the advancement in medicine has helped in controlling it to a great extent. According to the National AIDS Control Programme, Pakistan has about a 130,000 patients suffering from AIDS.”