ABIA’s POSITION: repudiation of the Bolsonaro’s statement
ABIA expresses its total rejection of the unfortunate declaration of the President of the
Republic, Jair Bolsonaro, who in an attempt to justify the unjustifiable – the sexual
abstinence policy recently announced by Minister Damares Alves -stated that “a person
with HIV is an expense for everyone here in Brazil ”. First of all, ABIA emphasizes that
abstinence policies do not reduce HIV infection rates. Furthermore, it drew our attention
that on January 31, the National Confederation of Industry (CNI, acronym in Portuguese)
– official representative of the interests of the most important Brazilian business
entreprises – filed a lawsuit at the Supreme Federal Court (STF) to revoke the labor rule
that prohibits the dismissal of people living with HIV.
For ABIA, the two actions are in line since both reinforce stigma, prejudice and
discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS in this country. It is likely that in two
days or so the president will try to take the statement back. That will not change the
frequent disservice he has done to this nation, by distilling hate and ignorance against
the black, indigenous, feminist cause, among others vulnerable populations. Bolsonaro’s
administration ignores the fundamental human rights of all people on a daily basis and
now attacks people living with HIV/AIDS without considering that the response to the
epidemic has only succeeded while it has produced solidarity and social justice.
It will not be through division, prejudice and ignorance that we will build an effective
response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The main lesson after 40 years of fight against AIDS
is that stigma and discrimination are the greatest barrier to controlling the epidemic. In
saying that people living with HIV cause harm to society, the president tacitly authorizes
stigma, discrimination and the violation of their human rights.
ABIA expects the STF and other legal institutions to remain vigilant and aligned with the
Constitution in guaranteeing access to Brazilian Universal Health System (SUS) and
protecting all fundamental rights, including those of the people living with HIV/AIDS. We
will not allow this government to ignore the AIDS epidemic, one of the most serious
public health problems in the world, and to destroy what we have struggled to
guarantee so far.
Rio de Janeiro, February 5, 2020
Brazilian Interdisciplinary AIDS Association