President, PM stress to engage vulnerable groups to prevent AIDS spread


President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minster Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to control the spread of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) through the provision of testing and treatment services to AIDS victims. President said AIDS could be prevented and treated with meaningful engagement with vulnerable communities.

In his message on World AIDS Day, he said Pakistan was committed to providing quality health services to all citizens equally without any discrimination or stigmatization with an aim to build a stronger society and healthier country. “We also rededicate ourselves to further strengthen the HIV response at the national and provincial levels, support data-driven solutions, expand access to testing and treatment, ensure economic empowerment of the vulnerable section of society, and fight the stigma and discrimination attached to HIV diseases and its victims,” he said.

President Alvi emphasized that by joining hands together with partners like UNAIDS, NGOs, and the private sector, new ways could be explored to address HIV and AIDS. He urged all stakeholders to thoroughly create awareness and provide counseling to the vulnerable segments to prevent the disease altogether and to diagnose it at an early stage to save precious lives. He prayed for those who lost their lives to AIDS and expressed solidarity and support to the bereaved family members.

“On this day, we also reaffirm our support and provide assurances to the victims of AIDS that we will continue to work with all relevant stakeholders at all levels with the aim to halt new infections, treat those who are suffering from it with care and passion, without stigmatizing them, and to wipe out ADS from our country as many other countries have done successfully,” he said.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif stated that the increasing incidence of HIV and AIDS among the children and adolescents is deeply worrying. In a tweet, he urged Ministry of Health to focus on awareness about testing, prevention and treatment to fight scourge. On World AIDS Day today, the Prime Minister said let us all vow to end the stigma attached with HIV.