Prevalence of HIV in Different High-Risk Groups and Associated Risk Factors in Pakistan. A Systematic Review from 2010 to 2020

Author(s): Aswa Gondal, Mahrukh Rasheed, Sana Ali, Zain Ul Abdin, Omar Rahim, Shristee Ghimire, Mohamed A Suleiman, Relfa Dellanira Proano, Ahmad Mashlah, Olasumbo Elizabeth Fagbenle, Jennifer Okon, Sidra Sha

Objective: HIV was diagnosed for the first time in Pakistan in 1987; since then, the prevalence has been gradually increasing and is expected to rise over the next decade. Although the epidemic has been predominantly concentrated in the high-risk groups, the concerning factors include spillover potential in the general population and multiple nosocomial infections. Therefore, we rooted the prevalence of HIV in the populations of Pakistan that were at higher risk and compared it with the prior estimates to guide future interventions.

Methods: We conducted a systematic review using keywords in PubMed, Google Scholar, and to identify articles related to HIV frequency in Pakistan from January 1, 2010 to May 15, 2020. After reviewing the articles, 33 met the inclusion criteria for qualitative synthesis.

Results: Our results substantiated that the infection rate in blood donors was low yet on the rise with a numerical value of 0.09%. The analysis of high-risk groups estimated the highest infection rates of 28.94% in the intravenous drug users (IVDUs), followed by prisoners (2.28%) and sex workers (2.25%).

Conclusion: These estimates are considerably high compared to prior data on this topic and can cause devastating consequences for the population as a whole. Hence, urgent and effective interventions are required to reduce the frequency of HIV in high-risk groups and limit nosocomial epidemics.

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