First HIV/AIDS Diagnostic Center Opens in Northern Afghanistan
The first HIV/AIDS diagnostic center in Afghanistan's northern city of Mazar-I-Sharif began operations on Tuesday in one of the city's hospitals, Pajhwok Afghan News reports. The testing facility, which is equipped with modern treatment technology, was established with help and financial assistance from the Ministry of Health and the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Health officials are encouraging residents to seek HIV testing and treatment at the center. Saifur Rahman, head of the AIDS control department of the health ministry, said similar centers have been established in the capital, Kabul, and two other provinces. According to Rahman, 71 HIV cases have been reported in the country, but health officials say the number could be as high as 2,000. Rahman said he thinks refugee populations and a lack of proper testing centers are the primary reasons for the spread of HIV in Afghanistan. He added that the ministry is planning to open testing facilities in bordering provinces to prevent the spread of HIV from Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan (Pajhwok Afghan News, 5/8).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.