Lakes state, News

MPs, health workers get HIV/AIDS awareness

By Yang Ater Yang

 HIV/AIDS Commission, supported by Public Health Department of United Nations Mission in South Sudan conducted 10-day HIV/AIDS sensitization workshop in Rumbek Lakes State.

The workshop, scheduled to take ten days, attracted at least 25 participants from the state Ministry of Health and representatives of Lakes State Assembly.

Lakes State HIV/AIDS Commission chairperson, Priscilla Arop Malieny, said the workshop aims at promoting dissemination and raising awareness among health workers and state parliamentarians.

She urged the participants to embrace the rising awareness in the community about the HIV/AIDS endemic in Lakes State.

“In my capacity as chairperson of the HIV/AIDS Commission in Lakes State, I want to say that HIV/AIDS is a pandemic disease that has caused human suffering worldwide,” she said.

In South Sudan, 2.5% of adults between the age brackets of 15 and 49 are projected to be living with HIV/AIDS.

Mrs. Arop said the UNMAID report in South Sudan indicates that the Ministry of Health and HIV/AIDS Commission, along with partners such as UNMISS and NGOs, are working hard to bring down the rate of HIV/AIDS infection among the people.

“Finally, I would like to thank UNMISS and HIV/AIDS partners who are supporting the fight against this pandemic disease in Lakes State,” she commended.

A UNMISS team leader of the protection, transition, and reintegration section in the Rumbek field office, Caroline Opoka, urged the participants to create massive awareness in the community to disseminate how people should protect their lives from HIV/AIDS in Lakes State.

“In my tribe, we say God went and put poison where life comes from. In my perspective, that’s where life comes from, and that’s where death is found, and that’s where it is very difficult.” Opoka explained.

“During COVID-19, all of us washed our hands and covered our noses with face masks, and COVID-19 went. But this particular one is very difficult,” she continued.

She further stressed that HIV/AIDS finds “us in the most vulnerable places where human life comes from, and that’s why, of all the things we are going to do, prevention is the most difficult to fit because of that aspect.”

“When you go to get a young girl, maybe you are also still feeling or looking for life. When you go to marry. You are still looking for life. When you inherit someone’s wife, you may be still looking for life, and that’s where death is also found,” she lamented.

Most HIV/AIDS awareness and sensitization campaign programs emphasize the use of the “A, B, C, and D prevention formula, in which A stands for abstinence, B for being faithful to one another, C for using condoms, and D for death.”

Opoka further explained that if the person fails to follow A, B, and C, he or she will get D, which stands for death.

“Managing HIV/AIDS is not just one way, but a holistic approach. In managing HIV/AIDS, we are managing people who are infected and people who are not infected with HIV/AIDS. So, when you are infected, everyone around you will get infected, and this awareness will help the community outside there to know prevention,” she noted.



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