A key HIV/AIDS program in Pakistan is ending this month, leading some advocates and officials to question the future of efforts to address the disease in the country, IRIN/PlusNews reports. The Pakistan HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Project was launched in February 2006 by RTI International, funded by USAID and implemented by Family Health International in conjunction with local nongovernmental organizations. The project was run in seven cities -- Karachi, Lahore, Larkana, Multan, Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Turbat.
PHAPCP provided about 40,500 people considered at high-risk of HIV with prevention education, 1,800 people with diagnosis and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and 10,000 with voluntary HIV counseling and testing. FHI Country Director Naseer Nizamani said that the program completed its three-year duration and that it would be discontinued "for a while." Nizamani added, "We are very hopeful that in the near future, things will get back on track."
Officials with Shah Abdul Lateef Bhittai Welfare Society, a group that targets transgender people and men who have sex with men, said that the group is looking for other donors so that it can continue its HIV awareness efforts. Ayesha Zia, head of the Youth Welfare Association, said that she hopes donations from local people will allow the association's center to continue providing HIV, STI and other information. Khushi Lal, head of the Karachi office of the New Lights AIDS Control Society, said that as PHAPCP "neared its completion, the global recession also reared its head in Pakistan. We have local donors who are willing to give, and though the amount is not as much as from the foreign funding, it does give us sustainability. In the meanwhile, we are willing to continue" (IRIN/PlusNews, 4/20).
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