News / Africa

HIV Infections Fall in South Sudan But Testing, Treatment Still Low

On World AIDS Day, officials in South Sudan encouraged people to get tested for HIV/AIDS. On World AIDS Day, officials in South Sudan encouraged people to get tested for HIV/AIDS.
x
On World AIDS Day, officials in South Sudan encouraged people to get tested for HIV/AIDS.
On World AIDS Day, officials in South Sudan encouraged people to get tested for HIV/AIDS.
TEXT SIZE - +
Lucy PoniBonifacio Taban
The HIV/AIDS infection rate in South Sudan has dropped from 3.1 percent in 2010 to 2.7 percent last year, United Nations data show, but success in fighting the disease could be undone by low levels of testing and treatment, officials said on World AIDS Day.

“We have 16,000 new infections yearly so we have to really do something," UNAIDS Country Coordinator Medhin Tsehaiu said, noting that South Sudan is surrounded by countries with much higher HIV/AIDS infection rates than it has: prevalence in Uganda is 7.2 percent and in Kenya, 6.1 percent, according to U.N. figures.

Dr. Medhin said that of the estimated 150,000 HIV/AIDS patients in the country, only six percent are on anti-retroviral therapy. Meanwhile, 13,000 people have died of AIDS-related illnesses in the past year, she said.

Dr. Esterina Novelo Nyilok, chair of South Sudan's HIV/AIDS Commission, said part of what prevents people from being tested for HIV, and stops people living with HIV/AIDS from seeking treatment, is the stigma that is attached to the disease.

"Why our people are not coming is because of issues of fear, issues of discrimination, which is rampant in this country," she said.

"We have really to break that cycle. HIV is a problem but it is the responsibility of each of us to make sure that we know our status."

Ahead of World AIDS Day, which has been marked every December 1 since 1988, South Sudan introduced free HIV counseling and testing centers in major towns around the country. Novelo said the centers are aimed at making people more comfortable accessing HIV/AIDS-related services, and getting tested.

In Bentiu, capital of Unity state, more than 2,000 people showed  to get tested for HIV at three free testing centers which opened on Saturday.

The centers will stay open for the rest of the month and, in a speech to mark World AIDS Day, Unity state assembly speaker, James Nguany Chakuoth, encouraged more people to drop in and be tested.

“The earlier you know your status, the faster you get healthy and live long," he said.

A study published earlier this year bears him out. In the study, published in AIDS, the journal of the International AIDS Society, researchers found that HIV-infected patients whose disease is well-controlled by modern treatment, had roughly the same mortality rate during the time covered by the study as people not infected with HIV, which causes AIDS.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bol Andrew Garang from: Jonglei State
December 09, 2013 6:38 AM
Be free, happy and healthy as i do. Ihave tested for HIV/AIDS 5 times Go all for test to chase away the virus from our Land South Sudan to her mother land which is not described. Thanks for your understanding.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid