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.
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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid