LAHORE - The Punjab AIDS Control Programme has opened a treatment centre for HIV/AIDS patients at the District Headquarters Hospital in Chiniot.

The centre has been set up after detection of dozens of HIV/AIDS cases in Chiniot during mass screening in the province in August. The patients will not need to travel to Faisalabad or Lahore to seek treatment.

“We have conducted a Situational Assessment in Chiniot to investigate and we analysed the epidemiological information about the emergence of around three dozen HIV/AIDS cases in Chiniot. Following completion of the assessment, we decided to set up a dedicated HIV/AIDS center at DHQ in Chiniot that will provide treatment and counselling services exclusively to HIV/AIDS patients in the area,” said Dr Asim Altaf, director of the Punjab AIDS Control Programme. The technical team of the PACP has been frequently visiting Chiniot following the emergence of HIV cases.  “An analysis of the identified cases did not show any definite epidemiological pattern. The identified patients, aged between 6 to 60 years, show different modes of transmission ranging from spousal transmission to surgical intervention as well as transfusion of blood.

The cases amongst children were due to vertical transmission (mothers to children),” he said. The high rate of Hepatitis C co-infection in these patients was identified to be linked with blood transfusion or re-use of syringes.