Brazil Launches Free HIV Testing Campaign
Brazil over the weekend was expected to launch a free HIV testing program, which officials hope will prompt 3.6 million people to be tested for the virus by the end of 2004, Reuters reports. The program will provide free tests in public hospitals to identify and treat "[s]ome 400,000 people in Brazil that don't know their situation," Health Minister Humberto Costa said on Thursday. The country planned to roll out the program with a media campaign, including advertisements, posters and stickers, which use slogans like "Find out!" and "If you had sex without a condom, take the AIDS test." The media campaign also includes ads targeting sex workers, pregnant women, married women and parents concerned about their children's HIV status. Data show that HIV is spreading fastest among poor women ages 13 to 29 in Brazil, according to Reuters. The campaign is the country's "latest big step" in the fight against AIDS, according to Reuters; the World Health Organization has called Brazil's AIDS prevention and treatment program a model for developing nations (Reuters, 10/30).
Additional information on AIDS in Brazil is available online through kaisernetwork.org's Issue Spotlight on AIDS.