Congressman Jair Messias Bolsonaro, 63 years old, was elected on Sunday (28) Brazil’s new president. AIDS activists told the National AIDS Agency what they expect from Bolsonaro in regards to the country’s policy. And they were unanimous: the guarantee of access to antiretroviral provided by the Universal Health System (SUS) and the maintenance of the current AIDS policy.
The new president has the challenge of expanding and strengthening the Ministry of Health’s National HIV and AIDS Department and also promoting action to ensure the epidemic’s rise reversal. It is necessary to have enough strength to break with the forces that violate the rights of the most affected populations; declared Salvador Correa, of ABIA (Brazilian Interdisciplinary AIDS Association).
In midst of chaos, I hope the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS will not be raffled in the early Congress negotiations with reactionary groups, and also hope the Department of STIs, AIDS and Viral Hepatitis (DIAHV) be protected from shutting down by the next Minister of Health, who might also believe that “those who have got HIV, that deal with it and exempt the government of the burden”, added Carlos Henrique de Oliveira, of the Loka do Efavirenz grassroots.
Read a collection of statements issued by activists:
Moysés Toniolo, from the National Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS and member of Anaids at the National Health Council: I expect the new president to maintain Brazil’s commitment to the UN as to eradicate the epidemic, applying greater investment to strengthen SUS, which means disapproving Amendment N. 95, which means to flat-fund social expenditure, and Amendment N. 86 that limits the pre-salt provisions directed to public health and education. I wish to reverse the actions that criminalize social movements in the name of combating terrorism and to make a wide agreement that aims at returning the Constitution’s protection of social security, which would mean reversing the labor reform approved in president Temer’s term while also making a pact against corruption. In regard of the Aids Movement, I hope we can guarantee universal access to public health treatment and assistance of STI, AIDS, viral hepatitis and HTLV, and also support CSOs with their work with the most vulnerable, neglected and excluded populations.”
Juliana Corrêa, state representative of the Amazonas Posithive Citizens National Movement and member of the National Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (RNP + Brasil): I have been living with HIV for 14 years and I will not just “deal with it”, nor will I die. We want access to treatment via SUS to be ensured and maintained – this is the largest public policy in Brazil. We still want universality, comprehensiveness and impartiality. The constitution states we have our right to life guaranteed, so we will fight for compliance with the law. May the new president be aware of the importance of the national AIDS policy and that we need to join forces against this epidemic that still kills many people in Brazil and worldwide”;
Salvador Correa, psychologist and member of the Brazilian Interdisciplinary AIDS Association
(ABIA): It is fundamental the new president commits to following the 12 demands established at the Anaids letter – a documented drafted between the national AIDS movement and the Parliament. We need to provide more resources to SUS. It is fundamental to guarantee all principles that guide SUS, as to increase resources to the epidemic response, strengthen civil society’s role and have the strength to face up to drug patents. The new president faces the challenge of expanding and strengthening the Ministry of Health’s National HIV and AIDS Department and ensuring action to reverse the epidemic’s rise. It is necessary to have the strength to break with forces that violate the rights of the most affected by the epidemic and to promote human rights, especially for the most vulnerable, such as gays, transgender women, transvestites, sex workers, black women and young people”.
Vando de Oliveira, of the National Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS: We, people living with HIV/AIDS, want the AIDS policy be maintained, as well as the PrEP
program, we also want antiretrovirals distribution to be guaranteed, as well as information campaigns, fidelity to data and the SUS maintenance in its comprehensive conception.
Jenice Pizão, of the Latin American and Caribbean Movement of Positive Women: I want the democratically elected president to comply with existing public policies and/or create others, especially in the area of health and education, to meet the needs of the majority of the population, always respecting Brazil’s unequal and diverse reality. It is important to reduce inequalities so that these hard-working people, always so exploited, can feel respected and protected by public policies”.
Beto de Jesus, director of AHF (Aids Healthcare Foundation) in Brazil: I wish the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS be preserved and expanded. We will not admit any rollbacks! Our movement has already shown what it is capable of over the past 30 years, since the breakout of this epidemic and we will not retreat”.
Rodrigo Pinheiro, president of Foaesp (NGO/AIDS Forum of the State of São Paulo): I hope the president reviews the Ordonnance N. 3992/17 that flat funds health services and that he also sees AIDS as a public health problem”.
Carlos Henrique de Oliveira, of the São Paulo Positive Network and the Loka de Efavirenz
grassroots: Brazil is literally at the brink of mayhem, as hate speech was naturalized during the electoral campaign and as historical guidelines of social and human rights were rejected. Injured by fake news, sensationalism and advertisements worthy of Goebbels, our population is divided and faceseach other on the streets. We walk towards a social fracture if nothing is done. In midst of chaos, I hope the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS will not be raffled in the early Congress negotiations with reactionary groups, and also hope the Department of STIs, AIDS and Viral Hepatitis (DIAHV) be protected from shutting down by the next Minister of Health, who might also believe that “those who have got HIV, that deal with it and exempt the government of the burden. I hope the next President and the next Ministry of Health comply with commitments made to the UN and to PAHO and maintain the largest AIDS public health program in the Americas. I believe that, regardless of the outcome, there is an evil that is already in place: the dizzying increase in stigma and discrimination against HIV/AIDS coupled with explicit racism and LGBTphobia. Whoever wins, our lives are already at greater risk. If the far right wins, however, we will have to form a social resistance to face up to the menaces afflicting the SUS, the free treatment of HIV/AIDS and other STIs. This resistance will be extremely important not only to the AIDS movement unity, but also to other social movements, both in the fight for the maintenance of treatments and in the fight against the criminalization of activism”;
Heliana Moura, National Movement of Female Posithive Citizens: I hope the new president will be someone who respects people, regardless of race/color, gender, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, pathology, among others. Let it be someone with a government plan where democracy and social rights prevail. Someone who will strengthen the SUS and SUAS (Universal Social Care System). Someone who prioritizes investments in health, education and security. Someone who does not judge the population and invest towards public and universal access to education and health. Let it be a government of love. Let it stop hatred and intolerance. May the president be honest and cordial. May the president be someone who does not favor torture, arm possession, let alone favors the reduction of age of criminal responsibility. May the president have women, black people and LGBTTIQ+ in his government. Let he encourage and listen to social movements. There are many demands, but I would highlight the president guarantees the access to treatment of STI/HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, cancer, diabetes, among other chronic and high-cost pathologies in a continuous and universal way. And may my freedom of speech be respected. This is the president whom I want and deserve”.
Originally published in the AIDS News Agency