The World AIDS Day 2017 was observed on Friday in the country and elsewhere on the globe with the theme ‘Right to health’ highlighting the need to take universal healthcare to those who are affected by and vulnerable to the disease. On the occasion, the UN Secretary-General renewed the commitment to make the AIDS epidemic a thing of the past.
However, though the number of HIV-infected people declined around the world over the last 10 years, it is worrying to note that Bangladesh witnesses a rise in numbers of the HIV-infected people. And it is among few countries where HIV situation has been deteriorating gradually.
Treatment of AIDS is expensive and life-long. And given its high poverty rate, overwhelmingly high population and gender gap, the country remains quite vulnerable to HIV epidemic.
According to quarters concerned, those who take drugs through the vein, sex workers and migrant Bangladeshis are considered most-at-risk groups for HIV infection. Two-thirds of those who are HIV-infected are unaware of available testing and treatment facilities and many suffer from the social stigma of the disease. And the tendency to go through HIV screening among adults in the country is the lowest in the Asia-Pacific region.
These traits represent an unsatisfactory level of efficiency to address deteriorating HIV situation.
We know that various governmental and non-governmental organisations are engaged in screening HIV infection and treating AIDS in the country.
It is clear that their strategies and actions fall short of the expected level of efficiency in preventing the disease. If preventive measures continue to suffer from inefficiency and lack of appropriate interventions, it is estimated by the UNICEF that prevalence of AIDS is likely to reach 8 per cent from current 0.1 per cent by 2025. And this is a major cause of concern for the health sector.
Poverty-stricken Bangladesh cannot afford to face the likely disaster of HIV epidemic. Thus, adoption of appropriate strategies and implementation of it to prevent and treat the disease and ensure proper care for the HIV infected is the urgent need of the hour.