An agreement between Brazil and the Caribbean countries provides for the transfer of technology to manufacture drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS, as well as partnerships in programs to prevent the disease.
Brazil currently produces eight of the 16 medications that form the AIDS cocktail. Brazil will also donate 500 treatments to HIV carriers in Caribbean countries.
These steps are part of a group of measures agreed upon by the Brazilian government and representatives of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom) who visited Brazil last week.
The measures will not take effect immediately, but they are expected to be implemented by the end of 2005, affirms the deputy director of the Ministry of Health’s STD/AIDS program, Ricardo Marins.
He explains that the agreements still need to be given a definite shape by the Brazilian government and the Caricom. Nevertheless, he underscores the necessity of intensifying partnerships in AIDS treatment and prevention.
“After Africa, the Caribbean is the region with the largest number of individuals infected by the HIV virus. In some countries 5-7% of the population are bearers of the AIDS virus.”
The donation of medications to treat 500 HIV patients, according to Marins, will be directed towards nine countries – small islands – that would be overtaxed if they had to buy the drugs that form the anti-retroviral cocktail.
Among the measures that were announced, the secretary of the Caricom, Danzel Douglas, mentions training courses to be administered by Brazilian professionals in hospitals in the Caribbean countries.
Another partnership between Brazil and the Caribbean community will provide for an exchange of information about how to deal with AIDS cases in the workplace, Douglas points out.
The Caricom secretary also recalls the partnership between Brazil and Guyana to reinforce the area of quality control in an anti-retroviral factory in Guyana. In Surinam, Douglas points to the effort developed to prevent AIDS.