HIV/AIDS campaign starts in Pochalla

5 Nov 2013

HIV/AIDS campaign starts in Pochalla

4 November 2013 - A four-day campaign to boost HIV/AIDS awareness kicked off today in Pochalla County, a remote Jonglei State area that borders with Ethiopia.

Pochalla was chosen for its location as well as reports indicating a high level of cross-border sexual activity, according to UNMISS HIV/AIDS team leader Dr. Amungwa Nche.

“There have also been unconfirmed reports that Pochalla (could have) one of the highest HIV rates in Jonglei,” he added. “Focusing the campaign in Pochalla might give an idea of HIV prevalence in the county if (many) people turn out for testing.”

The campaign, aiming to reach about 20,000 local people and test some 1,500 for HIV, was organized by the state Ministry of Health and Environment, UNMISS, South Sudan AIDS Commission, Pochalla County Youth Union and Bridge of Hope (an association of people living with HIV and AIDS), with funding from the UN Refugee Agency.

Organizers put up posters and banners on walls in the county. They also distributed stickers and flyers to local residents.

Pochalla County Commissioner Joseph Okello Wello said the effort would increase knowledge and understanding of HIV prevention as well as the use of condoms and testing, especially among youth.

The campaign comes ahead of World AIDS Day, which will be commemorated on 1 December under the international theme “Getting to Zero”, echoing the vision of achieving: Zero New HIV infections, Zero Discrimination, Zero AIDS Related Deaths”.