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Over two million people living with HIV virus in S.Sudan

By Kitab A Unango

The South Sudan AIDS Commission (SSAC) has blamed cultural norms for the increasing rate of HIV infections in the country.

The commission said the negative perceptions on use of condom among South Sudanese, was a great challenge facing the institution in combating new infections.

Gabriel Atilio, Acting Director General for South Sudan AIDS Commission (SSAC) said the country has over two million people living with HIV virus.

He said cultural and religious norms have continued to perpetuate the rate of infections among the locals.

”We have experiences but the ground, our environment is not flat for us to make condom a growing success anyway due to the challenges we have around,” Gabriel said.

Speaking during the opening remarks of a four day condomize training of trainees yesterday, he said lack of fund was preventing them from sensitizing the public on the importance of condoms.

Dr. Kidane Abraham, Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said condoms use was beneficial to the well-being of the society.

He said apart from disease prevention, condom prevents unwanted pregnancy and maternal mortality death.

Last week, a student of Bahr El Ghazal University reportedly died in an attempt to carry out an abortion.

Dr. Abraham said such tragedy could be prevented by correct and consistent use of condom.

”Apart from prevention aspect of condom against HIV and other STDs, condom prevents unwanted pregnancy and maternal mortality death,” he said.

Greater Equatoria region has the highest number of people living with the virus due to its strategic location bordering Uganda, Kenya and DRC Congo, according to South Sudan AIDS Commission.

The training brought together more than 50 participants including government officials, representatives of media, civil society and local organization.

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