Nearly 900 children in the Pakistani city of Ratodero tested positive for HIV this year and suffered from treatment-resistant fever, according to a New York Times report on Saturday.
After the disease was in its heel in April, the city became the epicenter of a new outbreak that disproportionately affected children. Initially, health officials said a pediatrician accused of reusing syringes was guilty according to The Times.
Since April, approximately 1,100 citizens have tested positive for HIV, including 900 patients under 12 years of age. Health officials suspect that the actual numbers may be much higher.
City employees find that many of the infected children are patients of the same pediatrician, Muzafar Gangro, who serves many of the city's poorest families.
"Gulhahar Sheikh, a local journalist who spread the news of the April epidemic and whose children are Gangro patients, told The Times.
"He said, 'If you don't want my treatment, go to another doctor,'" added Imtiaz Gialbani, a worker who treated his six children to Gangro. "My wife and I had to starve to pay for the medicine."
Four of his children have contracted HIV and two have already died.
In the end, Ghanghro was arrested and charged with negligence, manslaughter and causing unintentional harm. saying he never uses syringes again.
Health officials say Ghanghro is probably not the underlying cause of the epidemic, noting that visiting healthcare providers see many other doctors reuse syringes, razors, use the same razors to shave clients, and roadside dentists use non-sterilized instruments.
Increasing HIV positive Ratodero is part of a nationwide trend; according to estimates by UNAIDS, the United Nations specialized working group specializing in HIV and AIDS, the number of HIV-positive people in Pakistan has almost doubled to about 1
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