The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
  • Email Email
  • Comments Comments
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

International News

Pakistan: Risky Shots

May 15, 2013

Unnecessary injections, unsafe injection practices, and non-sterile syringes and needles are major factors contributing to the spread of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in Pakistan, according to Dr. Quaid Saeed, World Health Organization (WHO) national program officer on HIV and hepatitis. Other factors that contribute to the spread of the virus include poverty and illiteracy, roadside dentists' use of unsterilized equipment, and "contaminated blood transfusions," according to Saeed. Pakistan has had a Safe Blood Transfusion Act since 2002, but Saeed stated that only Punjab province has implemented the legislation fully. He estimated that Pakistan does not screen 40 percent of blood transfusions for HCV and HIV. Pakistan's laws do not regulate syringe use.

Although current data estimated that 2–3 percent of Pakistanis are hepatitis B carriers and 4–5 percent of Pakistanis carry HCV, Saeed believed the numbers would be higher if officials surveyed the whole population. Although some people infected with HCV recover, up to 80 percent may become chronic carriers, according to Saeed. In contrast, approximately 80 percent of hepatitis B-infected patients recover from the virus. WHO defines national hepatitis prevalence between 2–8 percent as an "intermediate" risk. Saeed noted that Pakistan has the highest prevalence of chronic liver disease in the world.

Dr. Aftab Mohsin, a leading Pakistani liver and gastroenterology physician, confirmed that dentists, medical practitioners, and "quacks" are responsible for syringe reuse and misuse. In addition, Dr. Arshad Altaf, Pakistani volunteer for WHO's Safety Injection Global Network, estimated that 90 percent of injections in Pakistan are unnecessary.

Mohsin stated that HCV treatment in Pakistan is "far worse" than syringe practice. Although HCV genotype 3 is the most prevalent form of HCV among Pakistani patients, most receive conventional interferon treatment instead of the preferred treatment of pegylated interferon.

Back to other news for May 2013

Adapted from:

  • Email Email
  • Comments Comments
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More News About Pakistan

No comments have been made.

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining: