LARKANA - As many as 56 more suspected cases of HIV have emerged in Sindh days after the first batch of victims.

1,118 people were screened at Ratodero Taluka Hospital while one-day screening camp was set up in villages near the town on Friday, wherein 39 children and 17 adults were tested HIV-positive.

In a camp in Tayab village, as many as 198 people were screened and of them a six-year-old boy was tested HIV positive whereas in Subhani Shar village, 250 cases were screened and six were tested HIV positive.

The fresh cases have taken the overall toll of victims to 331 in 13 days, sending shock waves across the country.

Provincial health secretary Saeed Ahmed Awan visited one of the camps and said over 3,000 people had been screened out of which 226 tested HIV positive.

The official highlighted that after re-checking, 113 cases were confirmed and treatment of 88 infected children was underway. The secretary blamed malpractice by quacks and some qualified doctors, besides lack of awareness for the outbreak of HIV in Ratodero.

“A joint strategy is being devised by the health department, National AIDS Control Programme, international donors such as Global Fund, WHO, Unicef and others to keep the virus under control and provide treatment to victims,” said provincial health secretary.

He clarified that detected cases were still suspected and more tests would be conducted for confirmation before treatment.

Meanwhile, Directorate General of Health Services Hyderabad in its summary dated May 8 said that 221 HIV positive cases had been detected in Ratodero out of 5,224 number of persons screened from April 25 to May 8, including 124 male and 97 female victims.

It said 13 cases were up to one year, 126 cases between 2-5 years, 47 cases between 6-15 years, 33 between 14-45 years and two cases related to 46 or above. All the cases were detected through Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) carried out by Sindh AIDS Control Programme, he said.

For Shikarpur, District Health Officer Dr Shabeer Ahmed Shaikh said on Friday that 11 people, among them 10 children and one adult, were tested positive after blood screening of several persons in eight villages of the district during past three weeks.

Shikarpur Deputy Commissioner Rahim Bux Metlo said over 100 illegal dispensaries, maternity homes and laboratories were sealed in Shikarpur, Khan­pur, Garhi Yaseen and Lakhi towns in ongoing crackdown against quacks and unregistered medical stores.

The increasing number of HIV cases in Sindh is alarming for which a doctor named Muzaffar Ghanghar was also arrested last month.

Disputing the allegations against him, Dr Muzaffar Ghanghar termed the case a “conspiracy” and said he was not aware of his own condition.

“The Sindh Healthcare Commission is conspiring against me. If I had known about [HIV/AIDS] then I would have sought treatment. I did not experience any pain,” he claimed.