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South Sudan army calls for concerted fight against AIDS

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February 22, 2012 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s army on Wednesday appealed for concerted efforts to fight against HIV/AIDs, stressing that the war against the sexually transmitted disease cannot be fought by one institution or group of some officials tasked by the government.

Speaking in an interview with Sudan Tribune on Wednesday, Lieutenant Colonel John Woja, the HIV/AIDS Secretariat Programme Manager of the military, warned that prevalence of disease poses a big threat to the military. He called on media to complement the efforts of his directorate in sensitising civilians and the army.

“The fight against AIDS is not a simple task. It is a fight that needs all of us because war against this disease requires concerted efforts. It is war that cannot be left to one institution such as national AIDS commission or some officials tasked by the government. It is a work requiring all of us”, Colonel Woja explained

The military officer said his directorate was facing many challenges some of which included logistics to reach divisions and military out posts. He also mentioned training and lack of testing materials and equipment.

The senior military official said the prevalence rate of the disease within the army is over four percent. He said that they were working towards having to a situation where they have no new soldiers becoming infected by 2015.

“With technical assistance from our partners, we are exerting efforts to ensure we meet the target by 2015. The aim of this campaign is that there should be zero infections by 2015”, he said.

He thanked United Nations Population Fund for providing condoms to the army and stressed that AIDS poses a big threat to the military.

The United Nations on Monday pledged it would work together with the government of South Sudan and a non-governmental organisations (NGO) to combat HIV/AID.

“The military has a big number of young people who are more at risk of contracting HIV,” Bannet Ndyanabangi, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) deputy representative for South Sudan, said a statement seen by Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.

He said that “one of the tools to fight the infection is by giving them condoms.”

UNFPA distributed some 140 cartons of condoms to members of the South Sudan army (SPLA) at a ceremony held the country’s Teaching Hospital located in the capital Juba.

This follows similar assistance in which about 4.3 million male and 43,000 female condoms distributed throughout South Sudan. Ndyanabangi noted that there is a higher demand for male condoms than for female ones, and added that women should be taught the importance of using the devices.

“Female condoms give women the power to decide whether to use them without negotiating first,” he said, adding that cultural taboos played a critical role in spreading the infection.

“In many cultures, sex is what is discussed in the bedroom. But because of HIV, we have to come up and talk about sex openly in order to fight it.”

South Sudan had a relatively low rate of HIV/AIDS up until 2005 when a peace deal opened up the region to immigration and returnees from neighbouring countries with higher rates, such as Kenya and Uganda.

(ST)

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  • 23 February 2012 05:34, by James Okuk Solomon

    Will condoms save the collapsing poor economy of South Sudan these days? Do we need condoms for SPLA at the moment or we need SPLA to be defending our aggressed territories with the Sudan now?It seems that the UN wants our army to be in bed with prostitutes defending their penises rather than defending the country. What a pity. I am crying for my beloved new country!

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    • 23 February 2012 06:07, by Dinka Dominated SPLA/M

      James Okuk Solomon
      Ignorance and prejudice are fuelling the spread of a preventable disease. fighting HIV AIDS is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS [I]t’s up to you, me and us to stop the spread of HIV and end prejudice. so Okuk there is nothing bad with itfight,

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    • 23 February 2012 06:28, by omoni jr.

      Dr James Okuk,
      There is nothing wrong for the UN providing condoms to the army,because HIV/AIDS does not care what and who you are.
      The first thing is always Health,and you can able to defend the nation if your healthy .If SPLA are all become patients with HIV positive then automatically no one gonna talk abut war. we need to be careful and protected as well as entire population of south sudan.

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      • 23 February 2012 08:09, by allan

        where is that animal call jalaby his mom is the one killing soldiers fucking them wit unprotected sex since sex is not practised in north by certain time

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    • 23 February 2012 08:18, by Murle

      Providing SPLA soldiers with Condoms is realy a bad Idea because they will only concentrated on sex instead of protecting our Nation. I have witnes one thing in Kofulos.

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      • 23 February 2012 13:31, by Abraham Lueth

        Dear Guys ,
        We should put ladies first in combating HIV AND AIDS becuase the are most affected and the same time vuneralbe to the disease with their high ignorance to use condoms.
        i agree wiht military officer who emphisese that we should fight all of us to combat Hiv and AIDS and be faifhfull to our partners .
        Abraham5

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        • 23 February 2012 14:05, by John Juma DC

          no no the fact is that the SPLA officers used to decline the use of condoms claiming is not enjoyable. ANUER MAN who used to borrowed jikijiki in custom from Congolese lady before using automatic, skin via skin is now suffering of HIV/AIDs and was an officer. all SPLA officers should be lectures on use of protective.

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          • 23 February 2012 15:58, by Ruach

            Liar.Nuer are not like you coward Jang/slaves who are next to Jikuei juba in prostitutions.

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  • 24 February 2012 04:53, by Emporio

    UN mission in southsudan is not to look after spla army pennies & spreads western culture by given them condom to make them sex addict ,in our culture as southerns sudanese we have strong moral code about sex we do practice sex for making family not for the propose of pleasure

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  • 15 May 2013 14:37, by dennishobson

    lhtpJjaqfgdHxg2kt6B5MkpydSiayjssanyong actyon madeira plastica plastic lumber Aw, this was a really nice post. In idea I would like to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and actual effort to make a very good article… but what can I

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