The "Only Happiness Will be Contagious This Carnaval" project, launched 14 years ago by professor Márcio Tadeu, of Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ), has racked up points in the area of education.
Besides the support of the Brazilian Ministry of Health in distributing free condoms to the population during Carnaval, the project gained a new partner this year: the Cartola Cultural Center, adjacent to the Mangueira samba school.
Tadeu told reporters that the idea for 2006 is to extend even more the dissemination of ways to prevent AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
"It’s very simple. All you have to do is use a condom if you want to have sex."
Since its first year the goal of the project has been to provide health education to the population. According to the professor, handing out condoms is not enough.
"Our idea is to hand out condoms and orient people on how to use them, because it is the most reliable way to prevent STD/AIDS," he stated.
Of the 2.853 million condoms the Ministry of Health plans to distribute at Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, 300 thousand will be part of the UERJ project. "This is an educational project. It is the best approach," Tadeu said.
From this point on, the project hopes to expand its activities in poor communities. The idea for coming years is to attain the populations associated not only with the first-division samba schools but with the second-division ones as well, thus increasing the number of people who can become multipliers, while at the same time "respecting the community’s social and cultural profile," the professor informed.