Brazil is cited as a reference in the UNAIDS Annual Report
23/07/2012 11:35 - Portal Brasil
"Universal access to antiretroviral treatment is a State policy in Brazil, but nothing would have happened without the National Health System (SUS)", the Director of the Department of STD, AIDS and Viral Hepatitis of the Ministry of Health, Dirceu Greco, said yesterday at the publishing of the annual report of the Joint United Nations Program for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
This year's document brings new data on the epidemic from across the world, showing that although international funding to combat HIV/AIDS has continued at the same level since 2008, there has been an increase of 11% in internal investment by developing countries. Considering the period from 2006 to 2011 growth reached 50%. "It is one of the most positive reports we have presented in recent times", said UN resident coordinator in Brazil, Jorge Chediek, referring to advances in the coverage and distribution of antiretroviral drugs, especially in low and middle income countries.
According to the UNAIDS coordinator in Brazil, Pedro Chequer, Brazil is a pioneer in the area of universal access to treatment and has served as an inspiration for many developing countries. "Brazil has taken this stance ever since the 1990's, contrary to the vision of the World Bank. We believe that we will achieve universal access by 2015 and part of that victory is down to Brazil", he said. Pedro Chequer highlighted that 8 million people are currently being treated worldwide, while in 2003 the figure was only 400,000. "In South Africa there were more than 300,000 new patients in 2011, adding to the 1.7 million people already receiving treatment in that country. This is double the 2009 figure" he said. According to the UNAIDS coordinator, another target of the program is to eliminate new infections in children by 2015. "I always say that, in fact, there is a type of vaccine for AIDS: the use of antiretroviral drugs as prophylaxis for HIV infected pregnant women to prevent transmission to the child; something that Brazil has been doing for a long time".
The Director of the Department of STD, AIDS and Viral Hepatitis at the Ministry of Health, Dirceu Greco, also said that even with high investments - the 2011 budget was R$ 1.2 billion - there is still several challenges to overcome in order to control the AIDS epidemic. One of those is to expand access to diagnosis. "An estimated 250,000 people in Brazil [have the disease] without knowing or have never been tested for HIV. Diagnosing these infections is a key step to controlling transmission. To achieve this, more than 2 million quick test kits were distributed in 2011. Once the diagnosis is known, people will receive the necessary care and treatment in a timely manner".
Ministry of Health