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PRI's "The World" Examines HIV Epidemic in Southern Sudan After Two-Decade Civil War

June 28, 2006

PRI's "The World" -- a production of BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston -- on Monday examined how "peace is spreading" HIV in southern Sudan, which recently emerged from more than two decades of civil war (Baba, "The World," PRI, 6/26). Health experts believe Sudan could experience a major HIV/AIDS epidemic because of low levels of HIV/AIDS awareness among the population, an influx of returning refugees from neighboring countries with higher HIV prevalence and an increase in cross-border trade. HIV prevalence in southern Sudan is estimated to be 2.3%, according to a report by the U.N. Population Fund. A series of studies by the World Health Organization, conducted after a peace agreement was reached in January 2005, suggest that authorities in southern Sudan face many obstacles in HIV prevention and education (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/12). According to PRI, "traditional and devout" Sudanese people often consider HIV/AIDS a "disease of those with loose morals," but the country's HIV transmission rate, which is the highest in North Africa, has "forced [the government] to take the epidemic seriously" ("The World," PRI, 6/26). Despite having limited resources, the government of southern Sudan is gradually implementing HIV prevention strategies. The region's first voluntary HIV counseling and testing center has been operating in Juba since 2004 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/12). The segment includes comments from Musa Bungudu, country coordinator for the Sudan office of UNAIDS; Mohamed Siddig, deputy director of Sudan National HIV/AIDS Control Program; a Sudanese pharmacist who within the past year began to sell condoms; a Sudanese woman who became HIV-positive after her husband returned from the war; an HIV-positive Sudanese man; and members of a newly formed association for people living with HIV/AIDS in the capital city of Khartoum ("The World," PRI, 6/26).

The complete segment is available online in Windows Media.

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