FATA AIDS program to set up three treatment centers in tribal areas

Special FATA AIDS program to set up three treatment centers in tribal areas
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Johar Afridi, an HIV patient, shows a packet of tablets, which he says costs around 13000 rupees per month but he receives it for free from the AIDS Control Program. (Photo courtesy: AN photos)
Special FATA AIDS program to set up three treatment centers in tribal areas
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Female patients at an AIDS screening camp in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). (Photo courtesy: FATA AIDS Control Program)
Special FATA AIDS program to set up three treatment centers in tribal areas
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Entrance to the AIDS treatment center at Hayatabad Medical Complex in Peshawar. (Photo courtesy: AN photos)
Special FATA AIDS program to set up three treatment centers in tribal areas
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Patients at a free HIV screening camp under AIDS Control Program in FATA. (Photo courtesy: FATA AIDS Control Program)
Special FATA AIDS program to set up three treatment centers in tribal areas
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A view of the Family Care Center where AIDS patients are treated in Peshawar. (Photo courtesy: AN photos)
Updated 07 March 2018

FATA AIDS program to set up three treatment centers in tribal areas

FATA AIDS program to set up three treatment centers in tribal areas

PESHAWAR: Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), will have their own treatment centers under the Pakistan Government’s National AIDS Control Program from next month.
Patients from tribal areas have been going to Peshawar for screening and treatment until now, according to health officials.
FATA Aids Control Program Manager Dr. Durkhanay Wali told Arab News that initially three treatment centers are being set up in FATA.
“We will select those places in FATA which have maximum catchment area,” she said.
Wali added that the control program conducts annual screening camps in all tribal agencies and Frontier Regions (FRs).
“A screening camp in an agency is five-day long (exercise), while it is three days in an FR.”
There have been 547 registered HIV patients from FATA and the FRs from 2003 to date, according to Wali. The North Waziristan tribal region alone has 133 reported cases and would therefore have a dedicated treatment center of its own, she added.
The FATA AIDS Control Programme has registered 27 patients out of the 4,838 people screened since March 2017, across the seven tribal agencies and the FRs, she said.
Talking to Arab News, 52-year-old Johar Afridi at the AIDS treatment center in Peshawar said that he had been living with HIV for the past 23 years.
“The symptoms appeared in 1995 when I started suffering from fever and stomach disorders. However, I started HIV treatment in 2004 after I was diagnosed with it,” said Afridi, who comes from Khyber Agency.
He said he did not feel stigmatized at all and that, just like other diseases, HIV requires attention and treatment.
“I have spent half of my life with HIV and feel normal with the use of medication,” he said. The AIDS Control Program provides free medicines, which otherwise would cost him around Rs 13,000 ($118) a month, he said.
Akhtar Zaman, another HIV patient from Kakshal locality in Peshawar, said he had a fever for two months and was not getting well, which led him to take the test and discover that he was HIV positive.
“I don’t tell everyone about it. Only my in-laws and my immediate family know. I wish to keep it a secret because HIV is considered a taboo in our society,” he said.
AIDS is considered a stigma of shame in FATA but now there is much more awareness about the disease, which weakens the human immune system, said Dr. Niaz Ali, in charge of the Family Care Center for AIDS treatment at HMC.
“Patients cannot survive if they don’t take medication. However, if they take the medicines regularly, they can live a normal life,” he said.