Community Gives Big Boost to AIDS Fight in Brazil

    In the opinion of the technical director of the Brazilian Ministry of Health’s HIV/AIDS Program, Eduardo Barbosa, although the STD (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)/AIDS Program receives a substantial amount of Federal Budget resources, what is left over for prevention and public consciousness-raising campaigns is still not enough.

    "I believe that it is still less than what is required for prevention throughout the country," Barbosa commented today.

    "A large part of the funds allocated to the program end up being used to purchase medications. For the coming year we have US$ 541 million, around US$ 406 million of which be spent on anti-retroviral drugs.

    "The rest is for program maintenance and for all the activities related to prevention, input purchases, condoms, and damage reduction kits, among other items," he informed.

    Barbosa reflected that, in spite of this, prevention of the disease has been carried out efficiently, mainly because it is done in partnership with state and municipal governments.

    He also underscored the participation of civil society, largely responsible for disseminating information among the groups that are most excluded and hardest to reach – such as riverside dwellers, members of communities consisting of descendants of runaway slaves ("quilombolas"), and drug-users.

    "To reach these groups, we formed a social support network involving governments and civil society. This has helped enormously," he observed.

    "Nevertheless, with more resources, the task would certainly be much more effective and better targeted," he added.

    Agência Brasil

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