In 2005, Brazil’s Ministry of Health will give priority to Aids control, prevention, and assistance in the legally defined Amazon region known in Brazil as Amazônia Legal.
This information comes from the director of the Ministry’s National STD/Aids Program, Pedro Chequer, who said that the goal is to expand the range of coverage in cities in the interior of the region.
“What occurs in the North of Brazil is that services exist in the capitals or the region’s few big cities. Most of the interior lacks services for the diagnosis and treatment of patients,” he disclosed.
Chequer said that Brazil has been a pioneer in Aids treatment. He recalls that activities in this area have always been guided by the understanding that prevention and assistance are “inseparable.”
In his opinion, it cannot be said that the epidemic is under control in Brazil.
“I would say that we have an epidemic with a tendency to be controlled in the future but that still requires permanent vigilance on the part of the government, at all levels, and on the part of society as a whole,” he said.
The director of the STD/Aids Program acknowledges that it is necessary to expand preventive activities to attain universal coverage, that is, “to reach every Brazilian citizen.
Not just on how to go about prevention, but to have access to the means of prevention.” He affirmed that it is necessary to extend assistance activities to some regions, chiefly to the interior of the country.
Chequer announced that the Ministry of Health will launch a campaign at the end of the year aimed at Aids prevention in terms of “vertical transmission, that is, from mother to child.”
He said that the idea is to encourage expectant mothers to submit to pre-natal examinations right at the beginning of their pregnancies and to themselves ask doctors to test them for HIV and syphilis.
Translator: David Silberstein