Three months HIV testing launched in Bor
By Manyuon Mayen Manyuon
South Sudan HIV/AIDS Commission has launched a three-month HIV testing and counselling campaign as a mean of combating the spread of the virus in Jonglie State.
The exercise which started last Saturday will be coordinated by Jonglei State Health Ministry following media reports about the alarming rate of HIV infection in Bor town.
Speaking to Juba Monitor on Saturday after the start of the exercise, South Sudan HIV prevention officer Chris Issa Gordon said the objective of the campaign was to create behaviour change among the youth in Bor town.
”We want to reduce on the risk behaviours that expose them to HIV infection since it is a global issue,” Mr Gordon said.
He revealed that they had so far tested 993 people since they launched the campaign of “know your HIV status” two days ago.
”Out of these 993 people only 13 tested HIV positive which is about 1.3% of the total number of people tested for the virus within our two days of campaign,” Mr Gordon said.
”Those tested positive were immediately referred to Bor Hospital. Some of them were companied to the hospital by our educators to ensure that they are enrolled for the HIV/AIDS treatment immediately,” he added.
Jonglei State Ministry of Health is expected to continue with the exercise for a period of three months at cattle camps and markets as the main areas of concern.
The HIV prevention officer said people needed to know that the virus was real and its threat on the population was a big concern for the government and health partners.
“We need to accept voluntary testing. If you are tested positive it does not mean it is the end of your life. If we don’t pay attention to the virus then our community will all get infected,” Gordon said.
Meanwhile, South Sudan Deputy HIV Commission Chairperson Dr Acol Ayom Dor urged the public not to discriminate against those living with the virus.
”HIV doesn’t differentiate whether you are young, old, rich or poor. It infects anyone. We need to care about the infected people by not discriminating them,” she stressed.
“For those living positively with the virus, they should not isolate themselves from the people. Take your medication freely and don’t spread the virus. So be honest to your lovers and the community as a whole,” Ms Dor said.