June 2014 (MOROBO) – The rate of HIV infections in Central Equatoria state’s Morobo county significantly increased this year compared to last year’s statistics, a health official said.
“One in every 15 samples taken on a daily basis is found positive with HIV,” Evans Moro, a clinical officer at Morobo Healthcare centre was quoted saying.
At least six in every 100 people tested, he noted, had already contracted the virus, which was far higher than statistics recorded a few years ago when only one out of every 100 people tested was found with the infection.
“We have confirmed 10 cases at Morobo primary healthcare centre in May alone,” said Moro.
"The number could rise much higher, if voluntary confidential counseling and testing services were not prioritised," he added.
The health officer, however, cited the attitude of the local population as one of the major setback in efforts to successfully fight the deadly virus.
“People in the county now regard HIV/AIDs as an old game that has no significance,” said Moro.
"Another challenge at the centre was lack of medical personnel and anti-retroviral drugs for patients who need them", he added.
The other worrying trend, Moro said, was the unavailability of Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) since May, which has reportedly increased the risk of contracting HIV. PEP is anti-HIV preventive medical treatment that is immediately administered someone who may have been exposed to as soon HIV infection.
South Sudan experienced a drop in the rate of infection with HIV/AIDS, government statistics released mid-last year showed. The new nation, however, has a long way to go to achieve its goal of zero new infections and zero AIDS-related deaths by 2017.
Last year’s data from the country’s health ministry also showed that HIV/AIDS prevalence was 2.6% in 2012, down from 3% two years earlier. The 2012 rate of HIV infection was reportedly lowest in the country since it first conducted a survey in 2007.