Afghanistan has reported 61 confirmed cases of HIV/AIDS, and 1,500 to 2,000 suspected cases, a health official said on Monday.
"HIV/AIDS is a crucial issue, which if not given the necessary attention will adversely affect the development of Afghanistan," said Dr. Saifur Rehman, manager of the National AIDS Control Program, days before the World AIDS Day that falls on Dec. 1.
Among the infected people, 43 are men and 18 are women, he said at a press conference, adding 14 of them live or lived in Kabul and seven in Herat city in the western Herat province neighboring Iran.
Quite a few Afghans acquired the disease abroad, Rehman said, adding among them 15 returned from Iran and five from Pakistan, which lies east to Afghanistan.
Two children and one man died of the deadly disease in Afghanistan, which has a population of 31 million, he said.
The official warned that "Afghanistan is prone to HIV/AIDS and the vulnerability factors include increased numbers of drug users, internally displaced people, migration, low levels of public awareness, limited facilities for the treatment, and lack of a systematic surveillance system in the country."
HIV/AIDS has become severe disease across the world as no efficient medicine or vaccine has been invented to tackle them so far.
According to the UN's 2006 Global AIDS Report, about 39.5 million people are living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) worldwide, while Acquired Immure Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has killed 2.9 million persons in 2006.