250 HIV/AIDs orphans in Yei seeking educational support

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[Yei, South Sudan,TCT] Friendship Club, a union of people living with HIV in Yei, Central Equatoria State, is hosting 250 children orphaned by parents affected by HIV/AIDS and is seeking educational support. Speaking to media during World AIDS Day on December 1, the Chairperson, Mr. Joel Baba said the Friendship Club hopes the government and nongovernmental organizations will make every effort to educate the orphans. “This will be the effort of the government in collaboration with stakeholders. If we educate these orphans, then they will do better in the future”, said Baba. The Chairperson urged every person to know his or her HIV status and to be faithful in relationships because the disease is real and very alarming. He encouraged people to “avoid stigmatizing and discriminating against those who are living with the HIV virus,” and stressed the need for funds to embark on massive awareness of HIV/AIDS to the community. In October this year, 3,744 people living with the virus were enrolled in treatment, according to data from the Yei Antiretroviral treatment centre. The therapy centre covers Yei, Lainya and Morobo counties. Issa Chris Gordon, the coordinator of the Yei Commission on HIV and AIDS, says about 50 percent of those enrolled for treatment are defaulting and noted a high increase in infections. He said some people see the use of condoms as 'immoral’ and that stigma and discrimination have fueled the spread of the virus. “People see the use of condom as immoral thing, rather than as something that can prevent the spread of the virus”, Issa said. South Sudan has a national HIV prevalence of 2.6 percent according to an Antenatal Care Household sentinel survey conducted in 2012.
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