ISLAMABAD – A new national survey has found that 132,000 people in Pakistan suffer from HIV. The survey was conducted using a grant from the Global Fund, and took 10 months to complete.

It was carried out in 20 cities, in which 60 teams collected data from around 5,000 places. The survey will be officially launched on October 3.

The survey revealed that in a span of one year, the number of patients suffering from the life-long disease has increased by 39,000, climbing to 132,000 patients in the country.

According to the survey, Pakistan’s most populous province, Punjab, has the highest number of HIV/AIDS patients — 60,000. There are up to 52,000 patients in Sindh and 11,000 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, while three cases were reported in Balochistan. In the federal capital Islamabad, there are 6,000 registered HIV/AIDS patients.

The initial report shows intravenous drugs users are the largest group of people infected by the disease.

According to MedlinePlus, HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It harms a person’s immune system by destroying the white blood cells that fight infection. This puts them at risk for serious infections and certain cancers. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. It is the final stage of infection with HIV. Not everyone with HIV develops AIDS.