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    69 HIV cases detected in Herat

    KABUL (PAN): About 69 HIV-positive cases have been registered since March 22, 2011 in the western province of Herat. Most of the patients are drug addicts

    The counternarcotics department estimates the addicts' population in the province at up to 70,000. Sixty percent of them recently returned from Iran.

    Most of the HIV-positive patients are women and drug addicts returning from Iran, Dr. Arif Shahram, provincial coordinator for the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP), told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    They have no bed facilities for HIV patients, who are offered medical advice on preventive measures, he said, indicating the number of the infected individuals could further increase.

    He asked government and international organisations to establish a full-fledged hospital to control the disease in Herat.

    The contiguous human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) caused the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which spreads through illicit sexual relations, unsafe ways of blood transfusion and a multiple use of syringes, surgical instruments and blades.

    Neither a strategy has been devised for controlling the disease nor a hospital established for the HIV patients in the province, lamented the counternarcotics director, Ghulam Gilani.

    "The disease spreads from one person to another through sexual relations and using infected equipment. If a person tests HIV positive, he or she is isolated by society," said a resident of Herat City, Abdul Hakim, 35.

    Nearly 600 HIV-positive cases have been detected across the country last year, while number of those cases increased by 1,250 this year.