The city of Olinda, Pernambuco, in Northeastern Brazil, will host the First Brazilian Congress on AIDS, together with the V Congress on Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and the V Congress of the Society of Sexually Transmitted Diseases between August 29 and September 1.
All these events will take place simultaneously and will be
supported by the Ministry of Health and other institutions, such as Unicef.
The inaugural ceremony will be presided over by Brazil’s
Minister of Health, Humberto Costa, and the president of the Brazilian
Interdisciplinary AIDS Association, Richard Parker.
According to one of
the organizers, Maria Luiza Menezes, the idea is to make proposals for ensuring
that people enjoy sexual and reproductive health.
The event is expected to attract some 4,000 participants who
will discuss problems related to the social stigmas and discrimination AIDS
positive people face, along with new drugs and treatment for HIV.
Helping Other Countries
The Brazilian government revealed this month that it is ready to
guarantee complete AIDS treatment for patients in countries in Latin America,
Africa and Asia.
Out of the 15 drugs used in the so-called AIDS cocktail, 8 of them are now
manufactured in Brazil. Those drugs are available for 100 patients in selected
countries as part of an assistance program. Now Brazil will offer treatment for
all HIV positive patients in some countries.
Pedro Chequer, who heads
the Brazilian AIDS program, explains that Brazil’s international cooperation in
fighting AIDS began in the early 1990s with Portuguese-speaking nations. Last
year it became an international cooperation program run by the ministries of
Health and Foreign Relations.
The priority countries in the program are
Guinea Bissau, East Timor, Cabo Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, and, in Latin
America, Bolivia and Paraguay, explains Chequer. In those countries, as in
Brazil, anyone with AIDS can get the necessary drugs to treat the disease.
New AIDS Pill
A series of practical results are beginning to take shape following the
Bangkok international conference on AIDS last month. Brazil is at the center of
some of those events.
At the request of Doctors without Borders, the laboratory Far-Manguinhos, of
the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, is developing a three-in-one AIDS drug (it will be
a single pill with three antiretrovirais).
Far-Manguinhos is also
studying the possibility of drugs made especially for children with AIDS. These
pills would be smaller and liquids would have agreeable flavors.
Boechat, the director of the laboratory, says the three-in-one pill and
children’s drugs should be ready by the end of this year. She points out that
they will make medication easier for patients.