The views expressed in this article – by Marcela Fogaça Vieira, human rights and IP lawyer, master in Public Health, consultant Shuttleworth Foundation and Gabriela Costa Chaves – pharmacist, PhD in public health, researcher at Department of Medicines Policy and Pharmaceutical Services (NAF), Sergio Arouca National School of Public Health, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (ENSP/Fiocruz) – are solely those of the authors and are not associated with Intellectual Property Watch. IP-Watch expressly disclaims and refuses any responsibility or liability for the content, style or form of any posts made to this forum, which remain solely the responsibility of their authors.
The President´s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, is sometimes describide as George W. Bush´s signature policy achievement – a rare bright spot on decidedly fraugh record, especially overseas. Active in more than 50 countries, many of them in sub-saharan Africa, the program has been essencial in th effort to bring the continet´s HIV/AIDS epidemic under control.
In June, infectious disease specialist Felipe Pires was at a loss. He didn’t know how much medication to give his HIV-positive patients in Porto Alegre, a coastal city in southern Brazil with the highest rate of AIDS in Brazil — more than twice that of other major cities. His supply of viral load tests, which measure the amount of HIV genetic material in the blood, was being rationed by federal health officials. “Miscalculating could make my patients irreversibly sicker faster, he told OZY. This new conservative political muscle has rolled back some of Brazil’s advances in confronting AIDS. Prevention campaigns that featured sex workers — a key HIV-affected population — were canceled, as was the public school program that taught openly about safe sex. Government research now shows condom use is decreasing among young Brazilians, which has consequences beyond HIV: Health ministry reports of syphilis rose from 1,249 cases in 2010 to 65,878 new cases in 2015. Meanwhile, what Richard Parker, from Brazilian Interdisciplinary Aids Association (ABIA), calls Brazil’s “triumphalist narrative” led international foundations to begin defunding prevention programs on the assumption that the health crisis was under control.
The Latin American and Caribean Council of Non-governamental Organizations Working on HIV/Aids Services (Laccaso) issued a letter publicizing its concern in relation to the critical situation faced by people living with HIV/AIDS in Venezuela.