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International News

Sudan Begins to Confront AIDS

April 18, 2007

Despite having what UNAIDS says is the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in North Africa or the Middle East, more than 2.3 percent of adults are infected, Sudan has been slow to confront the epidemic. Reticence about sex, the rigidity of Islamic law, and the stigmatizing of those known to be infected all contribute to the problem.

This week, however, the nation's Ministries of Health and Information launched a partnership with the UN Development Program that aims to help Sudanese journalists discuss HIV/AIDS in the media.

Reporters attending the training say they understand the value of educating the public about HIV transmission, but they say there is also a need for news outlets to stress the importance of dealing compassionately with those already infected.

There is much work to be done, however: Some officials fear that discussing HIV's transmission may encourage sex outside marriage, and the question of whether condom promotion is appropriate is hotly debated.

Even so, getting the word out about how HIV spreads is vital, said Tabitha Boutros, minister of health: "If you get the message across to the people then it's very easy to prevent HIV/AIDS."

Back to other news for April 2007

Adapted from:
Voice of America News
04.18.07; Noel King

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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