STAFF REPORT KHI: A significant proportion of new HIV infections within key populations are among young people under the age of 25. In most settings, HIV prevention programmes are failing to sufficiently reach young people most at risk. There is a need to create more awareness among the youth about this disease, said Sikandar Sherwani, Principal Organiser FUUAST, while addressing a seminar on HIV AIDs here.

The event was arranged by the Department of Microbiology, Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology, Medical Microbiology Association of Pakistan (MMAP) and Infection Control Society of Pakistan.

Sherwani said that Pakistan is among the 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific which houses a majority of the people infected with HIV.

In his remarks, Prof. Dr. Rafiq Kahanani, President ICSP, said that HIV prevalence in Pakistan nearly doubled from 11 per cent in 2005 to 21 per cent in 2008. The greatest source of a spread in the virus was use of drug injections and according to UNAIDS that an estimated one in five people who inject drugs in Pakistan are HIV-positive.

He highlighted that moderately high drug use and lack of acceptance that non-marital sex is common in the society have allowed the AIDS epidemic to take hold in Pakistan, mainly among injection drug users, some male sex workers and repatriated migrant workers.

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