Hope Ofiriha’s Omilling HIV-AIDS Project promotes HIV-AIDS awareness and testing in remote settlements in the Omilling countryside, an area facing one of the highest concentrations of HIV-AIDS infection in Sudan.
During the civil war, rebels frequently stormed area settlements in the dead of night and gang-raped women, sometimes infecting them with HIV-AIDS. When thousands of refugees flooded Omilling after the peace agreement was signed in 2005, many of them brought HIV-AIDS with them too. Today, between 20 and 40 percent of people in Omilling settlements test positive for HIV-AIDS compared to 2 percent in Sudan as a whole. The HIV-AIDS epidemic is devastating the war-ravaged community, hampering reconstruction, and worsening extreme poverty.
Our Omilling HIV-AIDS Project provides villagers—particularly women, school children, and local chiefs—up-to-date information on HIV-AIDS prevention, treatment, and testing. Our goal is to train 300 women to give HIV-AIDS talks in remote settlements and augment their efforts with outside HIV-AIDS experts who can test for HIV infection. The project also provides HIV-positive women with women-led support groups to help them cope with the social stigma and aftermath of rape.
Potential Long-Term Impact
Reducing the annual toll of new HIV infections by enabling individuals to protect themselves and others will save thousands of lives. Providing care and comfort to women HIV-AIDS victims will empower them and their families to rebuild their lives and their community.