HIV infection has been reduced globally: Speaker

Speakers at a press conference yesterday cautioned though HIV infection has been reduced globally, including in Bangladesh, the country has certain groups who are vulnerable to HIV infection and there is a chance of spreading it through them.They termed media role imperative for to create awareness for prevention of the deadly disease and saving people from dangerous consequence.

The speakers said the HIV is more prevalent among those who inject drugs, migrant workers, sex workers, men who have sex with men and members of the transgender community in our country.

Target groups need special attention and they should be provided with necessary services, they observed, calling for increasing financial allocation for successful HIV prevention programme they said.

The HIV affected people also easily fall to tuberculosis (TB) as they lost immunity. TB is still a health burden to us. Screening is required in this regard, they added.

Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) organized the media briefing at its Dhanmondi office with support from Save the Children.

Director General of Press Institute of Bangladesh (PIB) Mohammad Shah Alamgir Hossain attended the programme as the chief guest with DAM President Kazi Rafiqul Alam in the chair. Deputy Director of Save the Children Sheikh Masudul Alam presented the key-note paper at the briefing. Deputy Director of DAM Iqbal Masud and others also spoke on the occasion. The media briefing was arranged ahead of the World AIDS Day to be observed on December 1.

Citing a report of UNAIDS, Sheikh 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 per cent decline since the year 2000.

In Bangladesh in 2014, it was estimated that 8,900 people are living with HIV. There were 433 new infections reported in 2014. Of them, 563 died. In 2014, it was estimated that 309 children (aged 0-14 years) were living with HIV and the estimated number of new infections among children was 63. The children have been infected mainly by mother to child transmission, he said.

It could not be known regarding the HIV prevalence among Bangladesh’s young people. It was estimated for 2014 that 799 young people were living with HIV. The reported number of new cases of HIV in 2014 was 58. In Bangladesh, women accounted for 30% of newly reported cases, said Alam.

Shah Alamgir Hossain called for expanding coverage, quality and comprehensiveness of interventions for vulnerable people at the highest risk of HIV.

He also called for building the capacity of the government and NGOs at national and district level to scale up standardized and high quality interventions to monitor and improve coverage and quality and to improve coordination.

“Community-based HIV prevention and treatment interventions by including most marginalized groups need to be scaled up and made available to hard-to-reach/hidden groups of key populations” he added.

Kazi Rafiqul Alam put emphasised on the need for Public-private partnership was also stressed in containing HIV.

He also underscored on continuing care, treatment and support for people living with HIV, adding that priority should be given to case detection through HIV testing, counseling and other means need to be expanded. Prejudice over HIV is still high in the country.