In 2023 Bangladesh recorded 266 AIDS deaths

Ismail Hossain Rasel: | Published: 2023-12-27 21:32:31 BdST | Updated: 2024-07-20 18:48:52 BdST

Bangladesh recorded 266 deaths and 1,276 infections from AIDS this year, the highest on record since the first patient was detected in 1989. Of those infected this year, 1,118 are Bangladeshi citizens, and the remaining 158 are Rohingyas living in the refugee camps in Cox's Bazar.

The information was revealed during a program held to mark AIDS Day at the auditorium of the National Cancer Research Institute and Hospital on Wednesday. The report was presented by National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and AIDS Control Program Director Dr Md Mahfuzur Rahman Sarkar.

He said that in 2022, a total of 947 patients were identified across the country, with 232 deaths.

The first AIDS patient in Bangladesh was identified in 1989. Since then, 10,984 patients have been diagnosed, with 2,086 deaths. However, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) estimates that the number of people carrying HIV in Bangladesh exceeds 15,000.

The report said that in the past year, the highest number of 342 patients were identified in Dhaka among the infected Bangladeshi citizens. Other regions include Chittagong with 246, Rajshahi with 175, Khulna with 141, Barisal with 79, Sylhet with 61, Mymensingh with 40, and Rangpur with 34. Among them, 850 are men, 278 are women, and nine are transgender persons.

DGHS Director General Dr Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam said: “While Bangladesh has been successful in eradicating or controlling many diseases, it has stagnated in controlling AIDS. More emphasis needs to be placed on diagnosing and treating AIDS, and precautions must be taken to prevent its spread.”

He added: "Patients should not be ostracized. The government provides free treatment and medicines for AIDS. In our country, many reusable items are used in surgeries and treatments. It's essential to ensure that these items are sterilized. Otherwise, an innocent person coming for a colonoscopy, endoscopy, or any other test could get infected."

Additional Director General of Health Services, Dr Ahmedul Kabir said: “People are now moving around the world, leading to rapid spread of infectious diseases from one place to another.”

He said: “The rise in AIDS-related deaths might be for two reasons. First, with improved AIDS control programs, we are identifying more patients, leading to an increase in recorded AIDS-related deaths. Previously, these might have been attributed to unknown causes. Another reason could be the natural death of older AIDS patients in Bangladesh.”

The incidence of AIDS among male sex workers is increasing, as well as among homosexual men. This year, 9.5% of those infected are men.

Dr Md Mahfuzur Rahman Sarkar said the number of AIDS cases among female sex workers is the lowest. The prevalence of the disease has increased among male sex workers and homosexual men. The highest-risk group are those who inject drugs intravenously.

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that damages the cells in your immune system and weakens your ability to fight everyday infections and disease. On the other hand, AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is the name used to describe a number of potentially life-threatening infections and illnesses that happen when your immune system has been severely damaged by the HIV virus.

While AIDS cannot be transmitted from one person to another, the HIV virus can. There is currently no cure for HIV, but there are very effective drug treatments that enable most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life.