By Bonifacio Taban Kuich
June 14, 2011 (BENTIU) - The HIV/AIDs commission in Unity State said Tuesday that HIV/AIDS may prove to be more devastating to South Sudan than the civil war that led to the death of around two million people.
The 21 year conflict with Khartoum and between southern groups, which ended in 2005 and the previous civil war 1955-1973 has left South Sudan isolated and without largely without infrastructure.
However since the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement the region has begun to open up and Southern Sudanese have returned from neighbouring countries with high HIV/AIDS rates like Kenya and Uganda. The peace deal has also seen an increase in trade and travel across East Africa exposing South Sudan to the dangers of HIV/AIDs.
Unity State’s HIV/AIDs commission gave the warning at workshop held with and non-governmental organizations to increase awareness of HIV/AIDs in South Sudan under the theme "Get tested and stay alive".
Dr. Wichgoah Piny, the state’s HIV/AIDs commissioner said that about 116,000 people are known to be infected by the virus in South Sudan, 46,000 of which are being treated at hospitals within the region.
Piny added that it was important that young people between the age of 18 and 24 years old needed to be aware of how the deadly disease spreads.
International organizations during the workshop concluded that HIV/AIDs trust funds need to be closely supervised by the state government.
They agree there is a need for teaching materials in general and good education. The workshop greed that there should be a public rally every three months to support the monthly technical meeting headed by the South Sudan AIDS Commission (SSAC) at both South Sudan and Unity State level.
HIV/AIDS a sexually spread disease. The chances of catching the deadly disease can be reduced by using a condom being faithful to your partner and abstaining from sexual intercourse.
Unity State has seen an increase in HIV/AIDS cases due to lack of public awareness and ignorance about the use of condoms.