HIV/AIDS Efforts in Southern Sudan Hindered By Funding Delays, Lack of Awareness, Officials Say
November 24, 2008
The fight against HIV/AIDS in southern Sudan is facing challenges related to funding delays, a lack of resources, stigma and a population that is largely unaware of the disease, IRIN/PlusNews reports. According to IRIN/PlusNews, the region's strategic HIV/AIDS framework is expected to cost around $656.12 million over a five-year period, of which $124.16 million has been secured, leaving an 80% funding gap. The region also was expected in 2007 to receive $28.5 million in grants from the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, but the majority of that money has yet to be transferred, according to Bellario Ahoy Ngong, chair of the South Sudan AIDS Commission. A recent UNAIDS country progress report indicated that only $4.1 million had been spent as of February 2008. The report said the delays in funding were because of agencies' inability to absorb and manage the money, as well as the continuing security problems in some states of Sudan.
According to IRIN/PlusNews, open discussion of sexual matters still is "taboo" in Sudan, but high-risk behaviors are not uncommon. A study in the regional capital of Juba conducted in 2007 showed that 5.9% of women and 11.7% of men had sex with a casual partner in the past 12 months, and other studies have shown that less than 25% of men in southern Sudan report consistent condom use with casual partners. According to a 2007 household survey, more than 50% of women in the region had not heard of HIV/AIDS and 70% could not name the three main ways the virus is transmitted. According to IRIN/PlusNews, there are no conclusive data on the prevalence of HIV in southern Sudan, but "limited surveillance" conducted at prenatal care sites shows prevalence ranging from 0.8% to 11.5% depending on which site is examined (IRIN/PlusNews, 11/20).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.