Only 2,500 Afghans HIV positive but several risks: ministry
Thu Aug 7, 2008
KABUL (AFP) – Afghanistan has about 2,500 HIV positive cases, a relatively low rate, but a range of factors like growing drug use put the country at risk of the virus spreading, the health ministry said Thursday.
Only around 435 HIV positive cases have been registered with authorities, “however it is estimated that there are 2,000-2,500 HIV positive cases nationwide,” the ministry said in a statement.
The population of Afghanistan is estimated at 24-30 million people. The country has never done a full census.
“The prevalence of HIV in Afghanistan is currently considered low,” the statement said.
But factors such as growing heroin injection, the low use of condoms, poverty and a high illiteracy rate put the destitute country at risk, it said.
The World Bank last month approved a 10-million-dollar grant to fund government efforts to keep the HIV/AIDS rate low.
The ministry said nearly four million dollars of this would be allocated to “harm reduction,” including needle exchanges for intravenous drug users.
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