JUBA, May 29 (Xinhua) -- The South Sudanese government and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDs) on Tuesday agreed to work together to combat HIV among young people.
The ministry of health and UNAIDs have also signed a memorandum of understanding that seeks to enhance sexual and reproductive education among the youths and also strengthen access to information about HIV prevention.
The package would allow UNAIDs to partner with South Sudan in the areas of resource mobilization, advocacy and technical expertise.
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said the pact would help in scaling up youth-friendly services across South Sudan.
"This memorandum will be a tangible demonstration of your commitment to break the cycle of youth infections in the most critical age group because that is where we are having a big problem," said Sidibe.
Esterina Novello Nyilok, head of South Sudan HIV/AIDS Commission said lack of access to HIV services, stigma, and gender based violence and the ongoing civil war are major contributors to the spread of HIV in the East African country.
According to Nyilok, an estimated 180,000 people live with the virus, with the national prevalence rate standing at 2.4 percent.
Nyilok said about 14,000 young people got infected with the HIV virus 2017, down from 18,000 the previous year, adding that the partnership with UNAIDs seeks to reduce new infections among youth.
Victoria Anib Majur Achut, HIV/AIDS Program Manager at the ministry of health, said the government will work with UNAIDs and partners to introduce sexual and reproductive health education in the country's education curriculum in a bid to raise awareness.