A 35-year-old Bangladeshi expatriate living in Malaysia was told that he was HIV positive when he went to a hospital to donate blood for a relative during one of his visits to Bangladesh. The doctor suggested his wife also undergoes a test and she tested positive as well.
Amid such circumstances, the total number of HIV patients in the country cannot be ascertained. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS data said the estimated number stood at around 13,000 in 2018. Tests showed that 6,455 of them were HIV affected beyond doubt. According to the health directorate's National AIDS/HIV Programme data released on Sunday, 919 more have been tested positive, taking the estimated number to 14,000.
The first case of HIV in Bangladesh was detected in 1989 and the number has always been increasing since then. Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus. It destroys the victim's immune system and he soon dies. Although this can be cured, but the number of deaths is quite big.
The main problem is that the patient does not show any symptom after getting affected. As a result, the virus gets transmitted to other people easily. The case of the expatriate and his wife is not an exception, there are many who have faced similar situations.
Health directorate data says about 50 per cent of the people do not know that they are carrying the virus. Again, one third of them do not seek medical advices even after getting to know about the disease. It means by the time they seek treatment, it gets too late. Besides, the hospitals do not have proper record of the patients and their issues.
The number of deaths tells us that the HIV/AIDS affected do not get proper treatment. As many as 125 died in 2017, 148 the next year and 170 so far in the first 11 months of the year. The authorities say many of the affected did not know that they had HIV/AIDS.
So, the diagnosis is very very important. It is of paramount importance to ensure treatment for the patients and launch massive awareness campaigns among the vulnerable section.
The authorities should take immediate steps to contain the menace.