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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid