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Sunday, November 29, 2015, Agrahayan 15, 1422 BS, Safar 16, 1437 Hijri

More resources needed in nat?l fight against HIV menace
Published :Sunday, 29 November, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 18

Fighting the HIV Aids infection in Bangladesh may face a huge challenge in future due to resource constraints according to a leading NGO, as it called for expanded coverage and quality interventions for the people who are at highest risk of HIV.
"Although HIV-infected cases have been reduced in Bangladesh, there are some certain groups who are vulnerable to HIV and there is a chance of their spreading it. But we have no adequate resources or funds to address these groups," deputy director of Save the Children Sheikh Masudul Alam told a press briefing on Saturday.
Citing a UNAIDS report, he said Bangladesh spent US$ 19.4 million on the AIDS response in 2014, with only US$ 2.9 million of the total expenditure coming from domestic resources.
In 2014, Masudul Alam said, an estimated 138 mothers needed the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) services, but only 25 mothers received the service, which amounted to just 18 percent of mothers needing PMTCT services.
For lack of resources, around 63 children were infected with HIV in 2014 due to the mother to child transmission, he added.
National AIDS/STD Programme under the Health Ministry, The Global Fund, Save the Children and Dhaka Ahsania Mission jointly organised the media briefing at Ahsania Mission office in the capital ahead of the World AIDS Day to be observed on December 1.
Making his presentation, Masudul Alam said globally 36.9 million people are living with HIV and new HIV infections among adults and children were estimated at 2 million in 2014, a 35 percent decline since 2000.
In Bangladesh in 2014, it was estimated that 8,900 people were living with HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, while 433 were reportedly infected in 2014. Some 563 deaths occurred last year due to the disease.
"In 2014, it was estimated that 309 children (aged 0-14 years) were living with HIV. The children have been infected mainly by mother to child transmission," he said.
UNAIDS data showed that 799 'young people' were living with HIV in Bangladesh in 2014. The reported number of new cases of HIV in 2014 among this group was 58. Women accounted for 30 percent of newly reported cases.
Masudul Alam said HIV is more prevalent among those who inject drugs, migrant workers, sex workers, male homosexuals and members of the transgender community in the country.
"HIV-affected people easily fall prey to tuberculosis (TB) as their immune system is disabled. TB is still a health burden to us.  Screening is required in this regard," he said.
Director General of Press Institute of Bangladesh (PIB) Mohammad Shah Alamgir Hossain, Dhaka Ahsania Mission president Kazi Rafiqul Alam and its deputy director Iqbal Masud also spoke the press briefing.
The speakers urged the mass media to play their role to create awareness among people about HIV/AIDS for prevention of the deadly disease and thus saving people from dangerous consequences.
They said community-based HIV prevention and treatment as well as interventions involving marginalised groups need to be scaled up and made available to hard-to-reach and vulnerable groups.
Stressing the need for increasing financial allocation for successful HIV prevention programmes, the speakers said target groups need special attention and they should be provided with necessary services.    ?UNB

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