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Somalia: Doesn’t know About HIV/AIDS.

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The first killer in Africa after malaria; HIV/AIDS is not as popular as it is in some east frican countires like Ethiopia, and Uganda the most hit countries in the region by HIV/AIDS, but why the case is different in Somalia.

Elias Adam For Somali Swiss Online news (17.06.2012)

Somalia is one of the East african countries, with a little awareness about HIV/AIDS due to high rate of illetracy, denial and the availability of the information on HIV prevalence and risk behaviours has been limited, leaving communities vulnerable to the virus through lack of information.

A country that has already being suffering with endless armed conflict again keeps a numebr of HIV infected people in all its regions from north (The gulf of Aden) to the south (The Somali-Kenya Border). Due to the internal on going war many people have crossed into the border of kenya and Ethiopia both kept some hicher rates of HIV infected people than Somalia, and as both women and men interact with other genders from the HIV infected people without awareness, they come back to Somalia with HIV positiveness.

Nimco Mahamed from Hargeisa told;- to Somalia Swiss online news that; [she witnessed five people who died because of HIV in her neibohrhood in Hargeisa in the last decade], according to religious teaching people are taucht not to make any adultry out side marraige because of this the number of people with HIV are less than in other neigbhoring countries.

Despite of that all above mentioned people still get infected due to the above mentioned factors that play a good in the HIV spread among the communities in Somalia. According to United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF); ”In northwest Somalia, individuals and couples who have publicly disclosed their HIV-status have represented a significant step forward in “breaking the silence” about the pandemic. The commitment of such individuals to raising HIV/AIDS awareness is significant in supporting advocacy efforts.

Through this project, religious leaders and elders, women, youth groups, and secondary school students and teachers are all receiving HIV/AIDS education. This includes how to prevent the virus, sensitivity training for working with HIV/AIDS infected people, and knowledge about how the virus is transmitted. Information-Education-Communication (IEC) materials have been developed, pre-tested and distributed to support these efforts.

Thirteen pilot sites (also known as sentinel sites) for diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) have been set up in Northwest, Northeast and Central and Southern Somalia in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB) HIV/AIDS Working Group. WHO and UNICEF support the distribution of kits and drugs to the sentinel sites. An information package that was developed and translated into Somali has been distributed. Counseling skills training has been carried out for health workers at the sentinel sites by the Kenya Association for Professional Counselors (KAPC).”

The Vonurable Group

Youth in Somalia are the most vulnerable group affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. To encourage young people to become involved in addressing the issue, a “Youth and HIV/AIDS” according to UNICEF many seminars were conducted with local authorities in the northern regions. Presentations and deliberations focused on regional and local implications of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV/AIDS, their impact on youth, modes of STI and HIV transmission, and means of control and prevention. There were also discussions about how teens and children could become agents of change within communities.

Following the seminar, a Somali Youth and HIV/AIDS Coordinating Body was established to support community awareness and social mobilization activities, set up a network of youth, and promote community participation, information sharing and exchange of best practices. In addition, the group has developed a quarterly newsletter called “KOOR” (named after the Somali camel bell) to provide further information to communities.

Despite the tremendous efforts that were paid and still under going to increase the awareness and eductae people about HIV, still many has to be done to create a full awareness and educate every one on the prevention of Africa’s first killer (HIV).

SomaliSwiss@hotmail.com

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