AIDS Among Poor Women Goes Up Sharply in Brazil

    Brazil’s Non-Governmental Agencies (NGOs) are organizing demonstrations in 12
    Brazilian states in an effort to get local officials to pay more attention to
    the needs of HIV-positive people. Calls are being made for improved medical
    attention, as well as more condoms, hospital beds and drugs for so-called
    opportunistic diseases that plague people with AIDS, such as tuberculosis and
    pneumonia.

    Yesterday was National AIDS Combat Day (Dia Nacional de Articulação dos Movimentos de Luta Contra a Aids) which was marked by the announcement that there has been a sharp rise in AIDS cases among poor women.


    François Figueroa, who coordinates the Sexually Transmitted Disease/ AIDS program in the state of Pernambuco, says the increase stems from the fact that poor women are not aware of prevention techniques.

    Legalizing Prostitution


    Last year, the Human Rights Commission of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies placed on the docket a bill presented by Deputy Fernando Gabeira from Rio de Janeiro to legalize prostitution.


    According to the proposal, payment should be required in exchange for services sexual in nature. Deputy Gabeira was inspired by the example of Germany, which approved a prostitution law about two years ago.

    The deputy underscored that legalization is intended to improve the living conditions of prostitutes, who could, in turn, contribute to government campaigns, such as the fight against Aids and child prostitution.


    Gabeira recognizes that there is resistance from religious areas that hold moral reservations about the profession.

    According to the national coordinator of the Brazilian Network of Sex Professionals, Gabriela Leite, marginality and violence are the chief problems faced by the profession.

    Since October, 2002, the Ministry of Labor recognizes sex professionals as an occupational category. It is estimated that 200 thousand women currently work as prostitutes in Brazil. 


    Agência Brasil


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