Inter Press Service (10.21.11) - Wednesday, October 26, 2011
On Sept. 1, the first Family Care Center was inaugurated in
Peshawar's Hayatabad Medical Complex, where it will provide
HIV testing, treatment, care, and counseling. The center
already has 600 registered patients, including 175 from
neighboring Afghanistan. The center provides antenatal care
and child care and treatment under one roof, said gynecologist
Lubna Hassan, its director.
"Today is the best day of my life," said Gul Hamid, who tested
HIV-positive two years ago in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
and was immediately deported back to Pakistan. His family
received excellent counseling at the center and have since
become much friendlier to him, he said. "Finally, my family
members are convinced that HIV/AIDS can't be transmitted
through handshakes or shared meals and utensils."
Sultan Sher said psychologists at the center convinced his
brothers, sisters, and uncles that HIV is not transmittable by
"My brother, who tested positive in [the UAE city of] Sharjah
one year ago, has faced a tough time since his return," said
Sher's brother Alam.
"We have to do away with the stigma associated with the
disease so people stop looking down upon patients and instead
encourage them to talk openly about safety and prevention,"
Under an agreement, the center will train Afghan doctors and
nurses to help them counsel and treat patients in their home
country. In the future, the facility will become a Center of
Excellence for South and Central Asia and train health care
providers on HIV treatment and patient management, Hassan