Unity communities learn about HIV and AIDS

19 Jul 2013

Unity communities learn about HIV and AIDS

19 July 2013 - In efforts to increase awareness about HIV and AIDS among communities in Unity State, UNMISS organized a series of meetings on the pandemic this week, which ended today.

Some 300 students and teachers attended the awareness meeting held at Bentiu B Secondary School, following similar events for inmates at Bentiu Central Prison and church-goers at Saint John Parish.

The awareness programmes were conducted in collaboration with the South Sudan AIDS Commission and state Ministry of Health.

"We have to show that HIV and AIDS don't have any boundary," said a representative of local HIV/AIDS counselors, Dickson Gatluak. "It is an infection which can affect (anyone)."

UNMISS HIV/AIDS Officer Steven Odera said one of the most frequently asked questions was whether an infected person who looked healthy could still transmit the virus.

"Teenagers asked about the likelihood of having a HIV negative child when both of the parents are positive," he added.

The UNMISS HIV/AIDS unit in the state works closely with the Ministry of Health on programmes to promote knowledge about prevention and treatment services.

Last April, the unit trained 41 people to serve as HIV/AIDS counselors in their organizations, which included the Sudan People's Liberation Army, South Sudan National Police Service and prisons service. Another three counselors are volunteering in the ministry.