South Sudan’s HIV/AIDS Prevalence Decreases

South Sudan on Thursday during a launch the Antenatal Clinic (ANC) surveillance report of 2012 announced a reduction of 0.4% in HIV/AIDS prevalence.

South Sudan’s HIV/AIDS Prevalence Decreases
Standing with microphone is the Deputy Health Minister Dr. Yatta with the AIDS Commission Chairlady Esterina Novella at Regency Hotel on Thursday during the launch of the report [Waakhe Simon Wudu]

By Waakhe Simon Wudu

JUBA – 22 March 2013 [Gurtong] - The National Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Yatta Lori Lugor presided over the launch of the report that aimed at determining the prevalence and correlates of HIV and syphilis among pregnant women attending antenatal care in South Sudan and provide information for advocacy, HIV/AIDS programme and evaluation.

Esterina Novella, the Chairperson of the South Sudan Aids Commission said the report will help in policy formulation for the government and its partners.
It was also to assess temporal trends in HIV and syphilis in pregnant women attending antenatal care in the country and understand the geographical spread of HIV infection and identify emerging pockets.

“I’m very happy to announce that, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS has reduced from 3% in 2010 to 2.6%.  This is a great achievement for us all,” said Novella.

“However, challenges remain in a time of constrain; resources and continuing need for HIV drugs and services especially at the time that every one globally is moving towards using the drug not only as treatment but also as prevention,” she added.

Novella also hinted that HIV/AIDS being a long term epidemic requires commitment of sustainable and sufficient resources to allow the Commission effectively scale up the provision of services and realize its mission.

The report shows the Greater Equatoria region with highest rates with Western, Eastern and Central Equatoria states at 6.8%, 3.4% and 2.6% respectively.

Jonglei State has a rate of 1.3%, Lakes 2.3%, Western Bar El Ghazal 1.4%, Warrap 1.3%, Unity 1.3%, Upper Nile 2.1% and Northern Bar El Ghazal with the lowest rate of 0.3%.

Though pleased with the report, Dr. Yatta said more campaign is still needed from South Sudanese in terms of behavioral change.

He said consistence in manning the use of the ABC strategy (Abstinence, Be faithful and use Condom need to be encouraged further though the report shows many South Sudanese are using it well.

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