BRASILIA, Brazil – UNAIDS reports between 430,000 and 520,00 people in Brazil are living with AIDS, while just over 300,000 of them are currently receiving treatment and therapy. A new aggressive protocol passed by the Brazilian Ministry of Health aims to get treatment to those beyond the margin as well as offer early preventative treatment to stop new HIV infections.
Currently, only two countries in the world, the United States and France, offer antiretroviral therapy (ART) to all HIV-positive adults. Such therapies are preventative measures against HIV that will not only treat existing HIV infections, but also prevent new ones. The therapy reduces the risk of sexually transmitting the virus by up to 96% per individual.
The protocol aims to target demographics that are most affected by the retrovirus, reaching out to sex workers, men who have sex with men, the transgender community, and intravenous street drug users.
The protocol also outlines the regimens recommended for treatment of specific cases, but primarily relies on the most preferred treatment to date: the 3-drug combination pill of efavirenz + tenofovir + emtricitabine, available as the Atripla pill. This regimen is deemed “preferred” by physicians due to its potency, staying power, and its limited side-effects on the liver and essential blood fats.
According to UNAIDS’ world overview report, there were 35.3 million adults and children in the world living with HIV in 2012. In the same year, 2.3 million new cases among adults and children arose. The rate of prevalence has shown virtually no improvement from 2001.
Considered to be a “developing country” by the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Report, Brazil is taking a huge step towards leadership in AIDS treatment, as well as setting a precedent for other developed countries suffering the AIDS epidemic to follow suit.
– Malika Gumpangkum