HIV-Positive clients receive Anti Retro Viral Treatment (ART) in Pul-e-Charkhi Prison

Hiv-Symptoms-And-SignThe decision to start Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) for 5 HIV positive clients in Pul-e-Charkhi prison was taken after observing preliminary signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS such as weight loss, skin rash, and respiratory problems in these patients. The eligibility for ART and diagnosis of HIV/AIDs was confirmed by examination of their blood for HIV virus based on NACP national standard algorithm (three positive tests) and close monitoring of CD4 count. The treatment has proved effective to control the rapid progress of HIV in these patients since its initiation.

Anti Retro Viral Treatment along with Basic Harm Reduction services to Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) and Drug Users (DUs) is being implemented by SDO since March 2008 in partnership with National Aids Control Program (NACP) of the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) and close coordination of  Pul-e-Charkhi prison health and security authorities. The Harm Reduction package is consisted of NSPs (Needle and syringe access and disposal programs), Community-based outreach, IEC (Information, education and communication), Sexual and reproductive healthcare, Primary healthcare, Social services, Drug dependence treatment, OST (opioid substitution treatment) and Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) services to prisoners in general.

The following chart shows the total number of clients examined for blood born and sexually transmitted diseases since the start of the project in Pul-e-Charkh drop-in-center (DIC).

Total tested for

HIV: 1263

HBS:1248

HCV: 1217

Syphilis: 867

Cases positive

HIV: 10

HBS:75

HCV:109

Syphilis: 28

Chart 1: October 2011

There are an estimated 13.2 million injecting drug users worldwide and at least 10% of all cases of HIV infection worldwide results from unsafe injecting behavior- in some countries in central Asia, up to 90%. Many drug users spend years of their lives going in and out of prison. (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNAIDS and WHO (2006). Prisons are extremely high-risk environments for HIV and other blood born viruses’ transmission because of overcrowding, poor nutrition, limited access to preventive measures, continued illicit drug use and unprotected sex. Injecting drug users are vulnerable to infection with HIV and other blood born viruses as a result of sharing or reusing injecting equipments, sexual contact with other injecting drug users and high-risk sexual activity.

  • Afghanistan is considered to be a country with low HIV prevalence but at high risk for spreading HIV infection. The reasons behind this are as follow.
  • Over three decades of armed conflicts and  internal/ external displacement of a  huge number of people
  • Extremely poor social and public health infrastructure.
  • Drug trafficking, open borders and weak surveillance system etc.

Evidences show the growing problems of injecting drug use, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C in prisons in Afghanistan as well, and could potentially spread to general population. Therefore, multiple interventions are essential to control the spread of HIV and other blood born diseases.

 

You can share below your valuable comments.


 

Comments 

 
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