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Over 70 percent of the population not tested for HIV/AIDs

By Yiep Joseph

Over 70 percent of the population in the country reported not to have been tested for HIV/AIDs in 2020.

This development came during the commemoration of the World Aids Day under the theme ‘End Inequalities, End Pandemics’.

The event was officiated by Elizabeth Acuei Yol, theNational Minister of Health,Dr. Esteriva Novello Nyilok,the Chairperson of HIV/AIDS Commission, Haven Cruz Hubbard, USAID Mission Director and many other partners.

While addressing the gathering during the event yesterday, Elizabeth Acuei Yol revealed that the rate of HIV infections has increased in the country according to 2020 reports.

“South Sudan is currently experiencing an increase in new cases of infections; 17000 number of infections were reported in 2020 compare to 12000 in 2010,” Yol said.

 Dr. Esteriva Novello Nyilok, the Chairperson of HIV/ AIDS Commission mentioned that over70 percent of the population not tested for HIV/AIDs.

“Total number of people living with HIV/AIDs in the country is 180, 0000, unfortunately those who were tested are only 29% of this total number, it means the majorityof 71% do not know their status whether they are tested or not because they do not come to us and we do not have them in our data, we assumed that they are not tested,” Nyilok said.

She urged the general public to go for voluntary testing citing that many people remained not tested, a factor that increased the rate of infections.

Nyilok added that the main objective of the ceremony was to support people living with the virus.

She revealed that a big number of people in rural areas received little or no awareness.

“The awareness for HIV is not as much as we are expecting because a big number of the people staying outside the big towns those in rural areas might lack the information, but we are trying our level best to make sure that everyone is informed regarding the virus,” she added.

“The commission has embarked on translating messages in to various languages in order to inform every one,” she stated.

“It is really a concern for us if we need to end HIV by 2030, we have to put more efforts and more finances such that we would be able to move together to meet the global agenda of ending HIV/AIDs” she expressed.

Minister Yol added that HIV/AIDs remained as health problem in the country.

“In South Sudan HIV/AIDS remain as health issue with prevalence of 2.3% and higher inGreater Equatoria and lowest in Upper Nile region” she said.

“In 2020 it was estimated that 180,000 out of which 2195 are children, 9800 HIV related death were estimated to have occurred in 2020 and 1900 death reported among children,” she revealed.

She called on the citizens to voluntarily go for HIV testing in the various centers or health facilities in the country.

Peter Atem, a person who participated in the event called on the citizens to test and know their status.

“There are some people who do not want to be tested, but today I am encouraging them to know that it is good to know your HIV status before your health situation worsened, testing is free and even the drugs are free,” Atem urged.

“Go to the nearby health center and be tested to know your status” he said.

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