Thursday , May 19 2022

HIV in "key populations" shot in Bangladesh –


Female sex workers, men who have sex with men (MSM) and injecting drug users have been identified as key populations because they have the highest risk of contracting and transmitting HIV.

Prof Md Shamiul Islam, director of the AIDS Line, STD Program in Bangladesh, said the prevalence rose to 3.9 percent in 2016 from 0.7 in 2011.

It was only 0.3 percent, even in 2002, a drop of 0.4 percent in the 1998-99 period, when the first study was completed.

"It's growing due to injecting drug users," he said in an interview with journalists of the Journalist Forum in Bangladesh on Sunday in his office.

The government is launching programs through NGOs to prevent injecting drug users from sharing needles through which the virus enters the blood.

But this increase means that the program did not go well.

"I would call it a failure of a program that was directed at injecting drug users," he said.

He added that they introduced a new approach called Opioid Substitution Therapi or OST to deal with drug users sharing syringes.

OST is an "advanced option to reduce damage" for drug users.

The government, through its supervised clinics, supplies drug users with a substitute drug prescribed with a medicine such as methadone, which is usually administered verbally.

"Oral administration means that there is no risk of HIV infection, and we can gradually withdraw them from the use of drugs. So far, we have had 1,700 drug users under this OST program," said the director of the line.

"The government is working to achieve the global goal in 2030, which means that 90 percent of people living with HIV will be detected, of which 90 percent will be treated, and 90 percent will be in a phase where they can not transmit the virus."

He is globally called 90-90-90, he said.

The number of people living with HIV, as confirmed by the government through laboratory tests, is 5,586 from the first case detection from 1989 to 2017.

Of these, 924 died from AIDS.

However, the estimated number of people living with HIV is around 13,000 since 2017, which means that a large number of people do not know their status.

This year's World AIDS Day on December 1 is the theme of "Knowing Your Status" which emphasizes the need for voluntary testing of viral disease.

Out of the total of 865 new cases of HIV in the past year, 31% were among the returnees of migrant workers.

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