The fight against HIV/AID in Brazil has been highlighted as the most successful. It is a multi-pronged approach bringing together the government, the civil society and the public that is not inhibited by social or ethical sentiments. The first case of HIV/AIDS in Brazil was reported in 1982. The disease spread rapidly to reach epidemic status and in 1990, the World Bank report predicted he HIV/AIDS cases to hit 1. 2million by the year 2000. Initially, HIV/AIDS was more prevalent among gay men and injecting drug users (IDUs) rather than among heterosexuals and women.
In fact there were 28. men with HIV/AIDS in 1985 for every infected woman. However with time, women-men sexual relationship became the main means of spreading the disease and the ratio stood at about 2: 1 by 2002. However among the teens the ratio is 1:1. Women are increasingly getting injected because of cultural and physical disadvantages exposing them more to the disease. (Levi, Guido, Carlos, 2002) The Brazilian government realized quite early the threat posed by the diseases and set up the National AIDS Control Program in 1986.
Under the stewardship of the National AIDS Control Committee initiated measures to curb the spread of the epidemic. The program concentrated on studying the disease and offering limited medication. It also carried out public educative campaigns on how to stay free from STDs and how to interact with those living with the diseases. However, the disease continued to spread of the due to inadequate funding there were 10,000 reported cases in 1990. Concerted government effort coupled with donor support managed to mitigate the spread over the next 10 years.
In 1992, the NACP was restructured to create a holistic approach to fighting the epidemic. It meant that rather than the fight being exclusively by professional medical personnel, it would include all the government sectors as well as collaborating with the all socio-political groupings and international community. AIDS Project I was established with US $ 160 million loan from the WB and US $ 90 million locally sourced running from 1992 to 1998. Another program known as AIDS project II was established running from 1998-2002 receiving $300 million in funding. (Levi, Guido, Carlos, 2002)
The government effort has mainly been on provision of free anti-retroviral drugs (ARVS) a program initiated in 1996. It set up the ART Support Committee to oversee the provision of the drugs to all the infected cases and issue guidelines for the program. The drugs are mainly protease inhibitors that are more effective in boosting life expectancy among the users. A program on condoms was also under taken to encourage their use through public campaigns, price reduction and free dispensation to the general public. In effect, condom use rose from 4% in 1986 to 48% in 1999 among people having their first sexual intercourse.