New HIV project targets “Female Sex Workers” In Yei

Health & HIV/AIDS
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[Yei, South Sudan, TCT] South Sudan Community Change Agency –SOSUCA, a community base national NGO has initiated a three months HIV massive awareness campaign targeting Female Sex Workers on prevention of the virus from spreading. The three months project which is under the LINKAGES program in South Sudan, started this month and is expected to end in January next year with funds from Pact South Sudan. Festo Bali Christopher, the executive director of SOSUCA said the project seeks to enhance the capacity of Female Sex Workers – FSW in respond to the spread of the virus in the county. Health authority’s reports this week indicate that more than 3,700 people are living with the virus in Yei River County alone. “The fact is sex work in our country is not legal, its against the law of our country and we are not promoting it but now it is happening. If that becomes a problem where major infections are happening, what do we do if we know the source? So better we start from the source so that it is able to prevent”, Bali said. “Once we target them, we will be in a position to reduce infections”, he told TCT at the sidelines of stakeholders meeting on the project on Monday. Bali said they will initiate counseling and testing service, step up advocacy on faithfulness, condom use and enrolling on treatment. The executive director said they will also continue to involve sisters in business or female sex workers in trainings on HIV activities, adding that it encourages them to mobilize fellow colleagues in the business. Bali believed targeting commercial female sex workers first will help other target groups including the long truck drivers, youth and businesspersons contribute in the prevention of the virus spread leading to wide impact in the long term. “It is the responsibility of every individual to participate in the fight against HIV”, he said. Yei River County Assistant inspector of Gender and Social Development, Victoria Nasera Augustine, encouraged the organization to also reach its services to rural payams. “More still needs to be done by SOSUCA”, Nasera said in her opening remarks, calling for collective work of development partners with the government for better service delivery to the community.
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