Health minister calls for end to stigma towards HIV/AIDS patients
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She was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of National Guidelines for Management of STIs jointly organized by the King Edward Medical University and UNAIDS here on Friday.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister Dr Faisal Sultan especially joined the event and shared his thoughts on the subject. Present on the occasion were Country Director UNAIDS Dr Maria Elena Filio, Vice Chancellor KEMU Professor Khalid Masood Gondal, Vice Chancellor Fatima Jinnah Medical University Professor Amir Zaman Khan, Director Punjab AIDS Control Program Dr Munir Ahmed, Professor Dr Ijaz Hassan, Professor Dr Ayesha Ihsani, Professor Ayela, Professor Tahir Jamil, Dr Shehla Shaukat, representatives of UNFPA, WHO and a large of physicians and experts. Vice Chancellor KEMU Professor Khalid Masood Gondal delivered welcome note.
Dr Yasmin Rashid said, “I appreciate the organizers for holding an important event. We have introduced Insaf Medicine cards for patients of TB, Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS and around 180,000 cards are being be distributed for free treatment. The initiative will especially help patients of co-infections.”
“Patients of HIV/AIDS have to take medicines throughout their lives and adherence to treatment is key to managing the disease. These guidelines will greatly help experts in management of STIs among HIV/AIDs patients. Major source for spread of HIV/AIDS are quacks, re-use of infected syringes and lack of violation of SOPS during blood transfusions,” she added.
Dr Yasmin Rashid said that the Punjab AIDS Control Program was providing free of cost diagnostic, counseling and treatment services to HIV/AIDS patients across the province. She said behavior of doctors provided half the treatment to patients. She further said that discrimination and stigma towards HIV/AIDs patients especially in healthcare setting was totally unacceptable. The Health Minister added that the key task of Medical Universities was to conduct research and said great efforts were already being made towards treatment Thalessemia patients.
Responding to questions of journalists, she said violation of SOPs at political gatherings was causing increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. She urged politicians to be especially careful in the wake of Second Wave of Corona Pandemic that has caused lockdowns around the world. She said prevention of COVID-19 was possible only through compliance with the SOPs and complete care was being provided in public sector hospitals.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Dr Faisal Sultan said that the World AIDS Day was celebrated around the on December 1. The launching of international report on this day was a positive development as it would help countries like Pakistan to develop strategies accordingly.
Vice Chancellor King Edward Medical University Professor Khalid Masood Gondal said that the KEMU was providing top quality education in line with the vision of Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid and the institution was putting all out efforts to truly become a Centre of Excellence. He highlighted that the KEMU had produced a number of researches on treatment and psychological aspects of HIV/AIDS.