UNDP and People Living with HIV/AIDS Celebrate World AIDS Day

Years of war, political unrest and extreme poverty has resulted in high HIV prevalence in Sudan. According to the 2002 Situation Analysis Study conducted by the Sudan National AIDS Control Program (SNAP) and UNAIDS, it is estimated that the number of HIV positive cases has reached 320,000 in Sudan; the highest in the Middle East Northern Africa region.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sudan is involved in a series of interventions to reduce HIV/AIDS prevalence and mortality in the country. The largest and most comprehensive health programme in the country to fight HIV, UNDP GFATM has allocated a total of 104 million to respond to HIV in Sudan until the year 2012. Special attention is given to vulnerable populations such as Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), pregnant women, young people, uniformed personnel, female tea sellers, and People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWA) and their families.

Despite concerns of stigma and social discrimination, PLWHA took the lead this year in organizing their own associations and mobilizing communities against the threat of HIV in Sudan. Members of the association organized awareness sessions in 8 northern states and shared their own experiences in living positively with HIV. In each of these sessions, they explained the importance of voluntary testing and the availability of free palliative treatment to the public.

Since 2007, UNDP GFATM has provided support to 12 PLWHA associations at states level in terms of capacity development programs, offices rent and running costs. UNDP GFATM has also assigned 12 social workers to these associations to ensure that PLWHA are involved in the planning, implementation and evaluation of states’ responses to the epidemic.

On 1 December 2009, the Association of PLWHA in collaboration with UNDP organized orientation sessions for UNDP staff on HIV. The sessions focused on providing theoretical background to participants about the disease and created discussions on effective ways to prevent the pandemic from spreading.

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