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South Sudan's HIV prevalence may lead to an epidemic - UNAIDS

South Sudan

South Sudan might have to deal with an epidemic in ten years if HIV prevalence is not addressed adequately, a study has shown.

Conducted in 2012, the study puts 3 out of 100 adults as HIV positive in the country.

The virus’ prevalence stands at 2.7 percent for the whole country and in some areas it is much higher up to 14 percent with the age group most affected being individuals between the ages of 15 to 49.

Infection rates could increase dramatically in ten years if the right interventions are not made on time.

According to the agency, stigma and discrimination is the number one reason why people are not getting tested for the virus. Some diagnosed with the virus were also found not to commit to clinic or hospital visits.

“15 percent had to change jobs or were refused a promotion based on their HIV status. 14 percent were prevented from attending educational institutions based on their HIV status,” said Mia Mumtazia, UNAIDS Strategic Interventions Advisor in South Sudan.

23 percent admitted were excluded from social events including family, religious and community events while 52, 30, and 18 percent experienced shaming, physical abuse, and job loss respectively.

However, the numbers have been compounded by reports of rape and sexual assault after the country descended to civil war when in a dispute between President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar in 2013 – after the research was conducted.

U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon visited the country last month in an attempt to get its warring leaders implement a peace agreement.

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