OUR STAFF REPORTER LAHORE - Punjab Health Secretary Jehanzeb Khan has directed the officials to pay special attention for providing treatment as well as counseling facilities to the registered HIV/AIDS patients. Chairing a meeting to review the one year Provincial AIDS Control Programme here on Tuesday, he directed that vigorous awareness campaign should be launched with the collaboration of civil society regarding the prevention from the disease. Special Secretary Health, Wasim Mukhtar, Additional Secretary Usman Muazzam, Deputy Secretary (Admn) Sualeha Saeed, Project Director Punjab AIDS Control Programme, Dr Salman Shahid and other officers attended the meeting. Dr Salman Shahid informed that there were 2693 reported HIV affected people in Punjab and majority of them belonged to Lahore, Gujrat, Sargodha, Faislaabad and Dera Ghazi Khan. He further informed that six Voluntary Counseling and Testing Centres (VCT), 12 Surveillance Centers, six Treatment Centres for adults, one treatment centre for children and three Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission Centres (PPTCT) were functional in Punjab. It was further informed that a new PPTCT centre and a VCT centre have also bee established at DHQ hospital Gujrat in May 2011. He said that all the registered AIDS patients were receiving ARV medicines free of cost. He said that two new AIDS treatment centres were established at DG Khan and Gujrat in November 2010 and May 2011 respectively. Moreover, for the first time in Punjab an Independent Specialised Pediatric Centre for HIV positive children was established at Services Hospital Lahore. Similarly, for the first time a Central Data Coordinating Unit for HIV surveillance established at PACP. Also, for the first time in Punjab an MIS system for treatment centres implemented for integration of data of registered patients in five centres in Punjab. The meeting was informed that Punjab was the first province in Pakistan to appoint case managers for out reach at DG Khan and Gujrat to implement the PPTCT District Model Approach. This step has scaled up the services of pregnant women at risk of HIV infection. On this occasion, Special Secretary Health, Wasim Mukhtar apprised of the support from UNAIDS and UNICEF for AIDS response and appreciated their contribution.