MoPH opens the first ever Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) center in Afghanistan

Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Afghanistan

April 21, 2009

Dr. Fatimie officially opened the center by giving the first dose of the ARV drugs to a patient living with HIV. He also kissed the patient and did hand shake with him to address the taboo of discrimination against people living with HIV. He mentioned that the HIV did not transmit by handshaking, kissing and using same table and toilet from the patient to others. The patient could attend all the social and official functions and share spoons, plates or towels. At the end, Dr. Fatimie answered questions of journalists.

Dr. Tahir Mir of WHO, Dr. Saifurrahman NACP director of MoPH, Dr. S. Hahbib CDC director of MoPH, Dr. Rana Kakar from WHO, Dr. A. Akbari, Director of Ibn-Sina Infectious Diseases Hospital and NGOs representatives from Constella Future, MDM and OTCD were also present at the ceremony.

As soon as people living with HIV are detected, they would be put under the treatment. A doctor from the mentioned hospital has been already trained by WHO on ART for one year in Belgium.

Spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a global challenge. It faces every country in the world. It is increasingly turning into global and regional threat for all population particularly young population, children and women. The prevalence of HIV in Afghanistan is currently considered low but three decades of war, poverty, illiteracy, massive internal and external displacement, high level of poppy cultivation, injecting drug users (IDUs), existence of commercial and unsafe sex, unsafe injection practices and unsafe blood transfusion are potential risk factors for its spread.

Recent studies have revealed that HIV prevalence among IDUs in Kabul is 3%. So far 556 HIV positive cases have been reported from different sources, however it is estimated that there might be around 2000-2500 HIV positive cases nationwide.

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