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500 people tested positive for HIV; the majority are children

RATODERO, PAKISTN (AP) – Rehmat Bibi did not seem strange at all when Ali Raza, her 10-year-old son, came home with a fever in poor Larkana district in southern Pakistan.

Bibi took his son to a local doctor, who gave him paracetamol syrup and told him that nothing was wrong. But she panicked when she heard that several children who initially had a fever tested positive for AIDS in the surrounding villages.

Alarmed, Bibi took Raza to a hospital, where medical examination confirmed that the child was one of about 500 people, mostly children, who, according to the authorities, are infected with the immunodeficiency virus that can produce AIDS. A local doctor who has AIDS has been arrested and is being investigated for possibly deliberately infecting patients.

"We were very hurt the day we heard that our son was tested positive for HIV," Bibi told The Associated Press.

Bibi said it was heartbreaking to hear her son get HIV when he was so young. All her family members have been tested for AIDS, she added, but Raza is the only victim.

Bibi indicated that she had not slept for several nights because of the worries and she has been taking care of her son since the beginning of this month when the diagnosis was confirmed. He said he wants to see his son healthy and recover as quickly as possible.

Sikandar Memon, head of the AIDS Monitoring Program in Sindh Province, said officials had evaluated 13,800 people from Larkana, and 410 children and 100 adults tested positive for HIV.

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