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Sudanese, foreign institutions say Sudan concentrated AIDS epidemic country

(Xinhua)

14:35, December 02, 2011

KHARTOUM, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Sudanese and international institutions on Thursday said Sudan was categorized among countries of concentrated AIDS epidemic and that 90,000 people in Sudan are living with HIV.

"Sudan is a concentrated AIDS epidemic country," said Dr. Ehab Ali Hassan, Director of Sudan National AIDS Programme (SNAP), an affiliate of Sudanese Ministry of Health, at a press conference in Khartoum Thursday on occasion of World AIDS Day.

"This means the epidemic is spreading among the more vulnerable categories to the disease, which is youths," he said, adding that "the disease control efforts focus on managing the epidemic within this category so that it will not spread among other categories."

He attributed the increasing infection cases to the fact that Sudan lies within the AIDS belt in Africa, saying "there are areas in Sudan witnessing displacement and conflicts which are factors that help in the spreading of AIDS."

Nils Kastberg, UNICEF Representative and Representative of the UN Agencies operating in the field of AIDS control in Sudan, said that "we have 90,000 people in Sudan living with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) ... but the problem is that it is increasing and there are two things that are making it grow -- one is the lack of knowledge and the other is silence. Nobody is talking about it."

Concerned with children born with the virus from their mothers, Kastberg said the HIV test was made for around 28,000 pregnant women out of over a million this year.

The SNAP provides HIV tests, consoling, treatment and care at many government hospitals. In 2007, the SNAP in cooperation with the UNICEF launched a successful program to prevent transmission of the disease from the mother to the infant.

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