27th March 2023
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39,000 young people infected with HIV in 3 years – MoH

Authors: Yar Ajak | | Published: Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Dr. Harriet Akello Pasquale, Director of HIV/AIDS and STI at the Ministry of Health.| File photo.

The Ministry of Health has disclosed that 39,000 young people including women were infected with HIV and AIDs between 2019 and 2021.

Dr. Harriet Akello Pasquale, who is the Director for HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections at the Ministry of Health disclosed the data to Eye Radio, Wednesday.

She said the infection was recorded mainly among sexually active young men and women between the age of 18 and 39 years.

Dr Harriet Pasquale revealed that the health ministry documented a 6,000-record high infection in 2019; 16,000 in 2020 and 18,000 in 2021 respectively.

“Just to give you an update regarding the HIV weight of new infection among the young. In 2019 we had about 6,000 young men and women who tested positive for HIV. In 2020, we had about 15,000 who tested positive and in 2021 we had about 18,000,” She told Eye Radio on Wednesday.

The overall figure was diagnosed from 796,000 tests carried out in the three-year period across the country.

Dr. Harriet attributes the significant number of positive tests to an increase in the number of people who have come out voluntarily to know their status.

“If you look at these figures, it shows an increase. But also, if you look at the number of young people who tested for HIV, it has increased.  In 2019, it was about 14,000 while in 2020 it was about 346,000 while in 2021 it was about 436,000,” Dr. Harriet said.

In 2021, 436,000 young people voluntarily visited the health centers to test for the virus.

The official stated that the figure shows an increase in the number of young people turning up for the HIV testing and counseling across the country.

“So basically, we see there is an increase in the number of people who tested positive, but also, we see an increase in the number of people who came out to be tested,” she said.

According to the health official, about 47,000 people are currently receiving Anti-Retroviral drugs in the country.

A 2021 WHO projection indicated that HIV infection rate in South Sudan is estimated to be at 2.1 percent, with more than 170,000 people currently presumed to be living with the disease.

This is more than double from the 2020 World Bank’s projection which was at 1 percent.

HIV and AIDS remains a major public health threat with prevalence of 2.1 percent according to the 2021 projection.

The disease is transmitted through unprotected sexual contact, blood transfusion with an infected person or sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment.

 However, the disease can be prevented by use of condom, being faithful to one sexual partner with a negative test result, as well as avoiding used razor blades, syringes and needles.

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