November 11, 2010 (JUBA) - The regional government of south Sudan on Tuesday called for combined efforts to combat the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the region.
Maika Lisok Arona, Deputy Director with the department of Monitoring and Evaluation at South Sudan HIV/AIDS Commission, says the fight against the deadly virus cannot be left to the commission alone.
“We understand that the commission has the mandate to initiate and recommend policies and strategies necessary for controlling and combating the spread of this deadly disease in the region by creating general aware[ness] about the threat of the disease to our country but we cannot do it alone without helping hands from our people,” said Lisok.
"We need to work together in creating awareness,” he adds.
The official made the call following the announcement that the commission in collaboration with Unicef will hold a two day media forum with journalists from across the south to help fight against HIV/AIDS in the region.
The two days forum in Juba is expected to bring together over 30 media practitioners to map out an increased role of the media in creating awareness about the HIV/AIDs.
Once relatively untouched compared to other areas of Africa, South Sudan now faces a massive threat from the disease. The Government of South Sudan estimates that 3.1% of the adult population is infected.
According to a recently concluded study, an estimated 3.8 million people in Southern Sudan now face a real threat of acquiring HIV and yet only 60,000 people have so far been tested for HIV.
The media forum seeks to strengthen the role of the media to disseminate messages aimed at creating awareness and also for it to report responsibly and avoid further stigmatization.
In the two days, participants will review current coverage of HIV/Aids issues in the media, discuss ways to increase focus on HIV/Aids and delve into ethical issues when reporting on HIV/Aids.