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Sudan Grapples With Escalating HIV/AIDS Crisis Amidst Ongoing War

Sudan’s Ministry of Health has revealed that approximately 42,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in the country, with a majority facing barriers to diagnosis and treatment due to the ongoing war.

Acting Sudanese Health Minister Haitham Mohamed Ibrahim stated in a press release that the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Sudan has been classified as low for the past decade, with an estimated prevalence of 0.1% among the general population in 2022. However, he acknowledged the significant challenges in curbing the spread of the virus, citing economic crises, political instability, and the current complex circumstances, particularly the impact on HIV/AIDS patients during wartime.

Ibrahim emphasized that AIDS remains a public health threat in Sudan, attributing this to various factors, including the instability of population centres, the country’s proximity to high-incidence nations, the overlap between neighbouring countries, displacement, and population movements, and persistent stigma associated with the disease.

He outlined the Ministry’s response to the epidemic, which includes implementing programs and strategies to reduce HIV transmission, such as screening, providing treatment and testing services, and employing prevention strategies.

The Minister acknowledged the collaborative efforts between the Federal Ministry of Health and the international community in combating AIDS, emphasizing that addressing the needs of HIV/AIDS patients aligns with the motto “We Will Leave No One Behind.”

Ibrahim underscored the importance of positive media messaging to educate communities and combat stigma, stating, “The message and methods of communication must be carefully determined, especially since awareness is the safety valve in protection and combating stigma.”

In line with established strategies, the Minister announced sustainable political development goals by 2030 to end AIDS in Sudan, recognizing its threat to public health.

He reaffirmed the Federal Ministry of Health’s commitment to providing testing and treatment aids, ensuring safe blood transfusion services, meeting infection control requirements, properly disposing of medical waste, and offering services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus.

Ibrahim urged collective action to achieve universal coverage and eliminate AIDS.

Sudan’s health sector has faced continuous deterioration for years, weakening its response to epidemics. Fears of a complete collapse loom due to the ongoing war between the army and the Rapid Support Forces that erupted on April 15, 2023.

Source: Sudan Tribune