UNAIDS, Brazil To Establish International Center for Technical Cooperation on AIDS Under Joint InitiativeUNAIDS and the Brazilian government on Wednesday announced a new joint initiative to establish a training center in Brazil to help other countries fight HIV/AIDS using Brazil's "innovative" programs as models, Reuters/AlertNet reports (Reuters/AlertNet, 9/2). The International Center for Technical Cooperation on AIDS will cost $1 million, which will be evenly split by UNAIDS and the Brazilian government, according to Kyodo News/Yahoo! Asia News (Ferreira, Kyodo News/Yahoo! Asia News, 9/2). The center later plans to obtain additional resources from the private sector and international foundations, according to a UNAIDS release (UNAIDS release, 9/2). The center will train people from 25 developing countries with which Brazil already has HIV/AIDS cooperative agreements, including East Timor, Guinea Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, Cape Verde, Bolivia and Paraguay (Kyodo News/Yahoo! Asia News, 9/2). Brazil's National STD/AIDS Programme, which is considered to be one of the most progressive in the world, manufactures and distributes generic versions of antiretroviral drugs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/20). In the 1980s, the World Bank estimated that the number of HIV-positive people in Brazil would rise to 1.2 million by 2000, but the total number has not exceeded 600,000 cases, according to the health ministry, Kyodo News/Yahoo! Asia News reports (Kyodo News/Yahoo! Asia News, 9/2).
"It is absolutely appropriate that the first center be established in partnership with Brazil, which has demonstrated unrivaled leadership and creativity in responding to the AIDS epidemic, particularly with a strong partnership between the government and civil society," Piot said, adding, "The Brazilian response to AIDS has emerged as a model in tackling both HIV prevention and treatment head-on." Brazilian Minister of Health Humberto Costa said, "Brazil is pleased to have this opportunity to expand our existing horizontal collaboration efforts. Brazil is proud to offer to the global AIDS response its expertise on prevention, treatment and human rights" (UNAIDS release, 9/1).