PBS’ ‘NewsHour’ Examines Brazil’s ‘Bold’ HIV/AIDS Prevention Efforts
In the second of a two-part series, PBS' "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" yesterday examined Brazil's "concerted campaign" to prevent the spread of HIV with a "bold course" that emphasizes safe sex and condom use. The program targets high-risk groups -- including sex workers, men who have sex with men and injection drug users -- and includes efforts such as commercials "frank in their display" of sexuality and condom use, free condom distribution and needle-exchange programs. Dr. Artur Kalichman, who coordinates the program for sexually transmitted disease and AIDS in the Brazilian state of Sao Paolo, said that a short-lived focus on abstinence in the early 1980s failed to slow the spread of HIV in the country. According to PBS, although Brazil is a "deeply religious" country where most citizens describe themselves as Roman Catholic and the church has occasionally protested the government's HIV prevention messages as "promoting promiscuity," the government has "pressed ahead anyway." Brazil's Health Minister Dr. Humberto Costa said, "We say to religion groups: Okay, you have your idea, but we are only thinking about health. For this reason, we respect your opinion, but we are going this way: Telling to the people to use condoms, telling to the people to practice safe sex, and I think this is the best way." The segment also includes comments from Gabriela Silva Leite, a retired sex worker who runs the organization Prostitution Civil Rights and Health, and Rosemeire Munhoz, an official with Brazil's national AIDS program (Dentzer, "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," PBS, 7/16). The full transcript of the segment is available online. In addition, the full segment is available online in RealPlayer. Expanded PBS coverage of Brazil's fight against HIV/AIDS is also available online.
A kaisernetwork.org interview with Dr. Paulo Teixeira, director of Brazil's National STD/AIDS Programme of Brazil's Ministry of Health, is available online.
Additional information on AIDS in Brazil is available online through kaisernetwork.org's Issue Spotlight on AIDS.