During the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa (18-22 July), the Brazilian Interdisciplinary AIDS Association (ABIA) will release “Myth vs. Reality: evaluating the Brazilian response to HIV in 2016,””. The publication will be available on 20/07, at 2:00 PM, in the Global Village.
The alarming data on the increase of HIV and AIDS in Brazil (the country contained more than 40% of the new infections in Latin America between 2010 and 2015), discussed in the 2016 Report on Prevention of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), highlights the importance of ABIA’s initiative in offering the world a critical reading of the Brazilian setback.
Using simple and objective language, the publication offers up hard-hitting analyses in order to contribute to the reconstruction of the Brazilian response to the epidemic, which was once a model for the world.
In an editorial, the institution warns that their concern includes a global perspective: “We want to do more than denounce the serious situation in Brazil and draw international attention to the country: the publication is also a warning of the imperative moment that the world is today undergoing in combating the AIDS epidemic “.
Richard Parker, ABIA’s CEO, summarizes the expectations that the release of Myth vs. Reality have raised: “UNAIDS has finally urged the countries to rethink their prevention policies. In Brazil, we already knew that what was happening with the AIDS epidemic is very serious. The times are dark, but we can find our way back to an effective response to the epidemic. This is our expectation,” Parker says.
Also on 19/07, Parker will participates in the satellite-transmitted session “Education in HIV Prevention: Looking back on what we have learned,” which will be released the English version of “Pedagogy of Prevention: Reinventing Prevention HIV in the 21st century. ” This session will be transmitted by satellite and will take place in Session Room 3, in the Durban International Center, from 7 am to 8h30, on 19/07.
According to ABIA, the latest developments in Brazil strengthen the argument that biomedical answers cannot replace the social responses. Brazil gave up building a response to the epidemic using the experience of social movements.
In the new publication, researchers and activists such as Sonia Correa, Alexandre Grangeiro, Mario Scheffer, Veriano Terto Jr., among others, provide a critical overview of the country in the light of the current political and economic situation.
In the article “The Brazilian response to HIV and AIDS in trouble and uncertain times,” Correa presents an interesting historical retrospective of the major political events that led to the current crisis.
Meanwhile, Grangeiro offers up a realistic assessment of the different views (positive and negative) related to the impact of preventive and universal access to antiretroviral drugs in “From stabilization to reemergence: challenges for confronting the HIV and AIDS epidemic in this fourth decade in Brazil.”
Another thought-provoking analysis is presented by Fernando Seffner and Richard Parker in the article “The neoliberalization of prevention HIV and Brazil’s response to AIDS.” The authors analyze how the country has wasted the accumulated critical knowledge of key sectors that helped construct a response to the epidemic. These civil society organizations are currently without financial support and have no voice in many areas of policy making and response to HIV in the country.
A critical analysis of health assistance is carried out by specialists Maria Inês Baptistela Nemes and Mario Scheffer in their article “The challenges of caring for persons with HIV and AIDS in Brazil.” These authors acknowledge Brazil needs to recover a vigorous response towards assistance if the country is to get back on the track for which it was once internationally famous.
Finally, Veriano Terto Jr, Peter Villardi and Marcela Vieira present “The figth goes on: advances and setbacks for access to antiretroviral drugs in Brazil,” looking at the achievements of and threats to the program of universal access to medicine in Brazil.
Below are excerpts from “Myth vs. Reality: evaluating the Brazilian response to HIV in 2016”, which will be released on 20/07 at Global Village (Durban):
Scenes of the AIDS crisis in Brazil in 2016:
“Brazil is undergoing a conservative restoration of great proportions that, however, should not be interpreted as an unexpected phenomenon. Its origins can and should be sought in the long cycles of the country’s social and political formation.”
“The efforts to universalize testing in the country are not proportional to the increase in the number of people who begin their clinical care in the public health services… The increase in the number of people using anti-viral medications in the 2010s is more associated with changes in the criteria for beginning treatment than in an increase in diagnoses and a greater inclusion of infected people in the health services.”
“The strategy of treatment as prevention, in its dfferent modalities, was adopted in Brazil from 2013 on, and it combines with a certain liberal rationality (…). With this, it situates those who are infected with HIV and those who may become infected as simply individual consumers of medicine. With the weakening of collective strategies and social responses to the complexity of AIDS which… is very much more than… the biomedical perspective supposes.”
Fernando Seffner and Richard Parker
“The greatest ‘losses’ in continuous care after diagnosis occur in the ‘stages’ of retention and treatment, both of which are the prime responsibilities of the assistance services.”
Maria Ines Baptistela Nemes and Mario Scheffer
“The Health Minister’s resistances and reticence, as well as those os some of his allies among more conservative health care professionals and managers, with regards to dealing with the question of incorporating new medicine … has been a threat, in the middle and long term, to people living with HIV in treatment and in the healthcare services”.
Veriano Terto Jr, Pedro Villardi
and Marcela Vieira