Addressing the disrupted HIV response in South Sudan: prevention, care, treatment and retention services in Mundri West County, South Sudan
Due to persistent conflict in South Sudan with the resulting human displacement and service disruptions, people’s vulnerability to HIV is extremely high.
Out of the over 200,000 people estimated to be living with HIV, a majority do not know their HIV status while only 18% are on antiretroviral therapy (ART)*. Most of the people living with HIV on treatment are women while men and children constitute just a small proportion.
Expanding access to HIV prevention, care and treatment is a large part of South Sudan Community Change Agency (SOSUCCA)'s mandate. Since its inception in 2009, SOSUCCA has trained 250 peer educators on HIV awareness, tested over 10,000 individuals for HIV, enrolled 2,500 individuals on treatment and distributed nearly 3 million condoms. Their efforts also include community sensitization, awareness raising and stigma reduction.
In 2022, the organization began a yearlong project financed by Madiro. SOSUCCA's project increases access to facility- and community-based HIV related services. This is done via targeted testing, organizing community referral systems, and creating community antiretroviral therapy (ART) refill groups. SOSUCCA also aims to improve retention and reduce interruptions in treatment by offering SMS appointment reminders, facilitating support groups and empowering mothers by training them to become mentors in the community.
Within this project, SOSUCCA's goals are to:
- Increase the proportion of people who know their HIV status to 95%;
- Ensure 95% of all newly diagnosed people living with HIV are enrolled and retained to HIV treatment services;
- Support 95% of people receiving treatment achieve viral suppression within six months.
SOSUCCA was awarded a $75,000 grant for this project, as a part of Madiro's call for proposals in 2021.
*Source: UNAIDS, Country Progress Report - South Sudan, 2020