How Did 494 Children – In One City – Get HIV?

Pakistani child, file photo.

Hundreds of parents took their kids for HIV testing. “The results were devastating.”

NPR – This spring, a number of parents were worried about their children.

The children had been running fevers for a while.

The parents had been taking them to a clinic in Ratodero, a poor neighborhood in the city of Larkana in southern Pakistan, run by Dr. Muzaffar Ghangharo, a pediatrician.

But the youngsters weren’t responding to treatments to bring down their fever …

“The U.S. Census Bureau in 2010 estimated that 363,699 residents of Pakistani descent were living in the U.S., an increase from 204,309 in 2000. The Bureau, however, excluded those living in institutions, college dormitories, and other group quarters. Some studies estimate the Pakistani community to be more than 700,000. Pakistan is the 12th highest ranked source for immigration into the U.S.” – Embassy of the United States Islamabad, Pakistan and other sources 

In late April, some of the parents wanted another opinion. So they took their children to a different medical center in Larkana, where they were seen by Dr. Imran Arbani.

Because a long-running fever is one of the symptoms of HIV, Arbani suggested testing the children for the virus as a precaution.

The results were devastating.

On April 24, the first test results came in: One of the children was HIV-positive. There were 14 more positive test results, according to an op-ed written by Muhammad Nauman Siddique, the province’s deputy commissioner, and published on May 20.

The children ranged in age from 2 months to 8 years. Taxpayers Spend Billions On Gay Sex Costs

That was the start of the current HIV outbreak in the Sindh province of Pakistan.

It’s a disease that is all too familiar in this part of the country. The province accounts for nearly half of the 150,000 HIV-positive cases in Pakistan, according to UNAIDS.

In this particular outbreak, blame was initially focused on Ghangharo, but the tragedy is now being linked to major failures in the health care system, including reuse of syringes and lack of standards for blood transfusions.

After news of the infected children broke on TV, “there was panic, hue and cry,” Masood Bangash, a district police officer, told NPR. Parents gathered outside Ghangharo’s clinic and other sites in Larkana to express their anger.

The deputy commissioner of Larkana’s municipal government called for free screenings for anyone who was concerned. The parents of the HIV-positive children demanded that Ghangharo be screened as well …

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