PESHAWAR: The members of civil society organisation have expressed concerns over growing number of Aids patients in transgender community and asked the provincial government to take effective steps to control the fatal disease.
Addressing a news conference at Peshawar Press Club on Thursday, Qamar Naseem of Blue Veins, a transgender rights activist, said that government and international organisations needed to find ways for protection of transgender people might from HIV/Aids.
Flanked by Farzana Jan, provincial president of Trans-Action Alliance, and others, Mr Naseem said that transgender community was vulnerable to infection of HIV/Aids as they did not have proper arrangements to save themselves from such diseases.
He said that according to international analysis, transgender women had 49 times more chances to get infected by HIV as compared to other people. “Transgender men are less likely to be HIV positive than transgender women but their rate of infection is still higher than that of general population,” he added.
Rights activists ask govt to take effective steps to control disease
Mr Naseem said that around 19.1 per cent of transgender women were living with HIV across the world. In year 2015, nearly 3,500 Aids patients had died in the country, he said, adding that about 400 patients lost their lives to Aids in Peshawar, Malakand, Dera Ismail Khan, Kohat Hangu and Fata.
“In Pakistan, more than 100,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease while a very low percentage is under treatment because the drop out is high. The ration of HIV/Aids transgender people is 6.2 per cent in the country,” said Mr Naseem.
Qamar Naseem said transgender people faced additional barriers to get healthcare that other HIV-affected people might have not.
“They face a real fear of being discriminated against by healthcare professionals or being denied treatment because of their gender identity or expression. These barriers make it more likely for transgender people to avoid laboratory tests and less likely to remain in HIV-related medical care,” he added.
Meanwhile, a walk was also organised under the aegis of National Aids Control Programme that walk was led by its project manager Subhan Ali, Nazira and Naela.
In Lower Dir, Association for Community Development also organised a walk at district headquarters hospital Timergara to mark the World Aids Day.
The doctors, paramedical staff, social workers and political activists participated in the walk.
In Kohat, chairman of Ittefaq Welfare Isar Bangash said that government should launch awareness campaign abroad with the help of its embassies to control Aids because in majority of cases it was detected among overseas Pakistanis in Kohat. He said that the diseased could be prevented only through creating awareness among the people.
courtesy : dawn news