Brazil expands its anti-AIDS program

August 29, 2012

(AP) —Brazil's anti-AIDS program will be expanded to include at least 35,000 more people, a Health Ministry official said Wednesday.

Ronaldo Hallal of the ministry's Sexually Transmitted Disease Department said people with 500 or fewer CD4 cells per cubic millimeter will receive anti-retroviral HIV treatment. Before the program's expansion, people with 350 or less CD4 cells per cubic millimeter received treatment.

CD4 cell levels measure the strength of the immune system.

Hallal said recent studies show that the "earlier treatment begins, the better is the quality of life of a person infected with the HIV virus."

"Brazil will be the only large country in the world to offer this kind of treatment that will reduce the risk of opportunistic infections like tuberculosis," Health Minister Alexandre Padilla said in a statement.

The expansion of the program will require spending an additional 120 million reals ($60,000) a year, the Health Ministry said on its website.

Hallal said Brazil already spends 1.2 billion reals ($600 million) each year in its free anti-AIDS program that is currently treating 223,000 people. He said he thinks there are 250,000 other Brazilians infected with the HIV virus but are unaware of it.

Brazil started providing free anti-retroviral drugs and condoms in 1996. To ensure access to cheaper generic medicines to treat the disease, it challenged the patents of major pharmaceutical corporations.

The latest Health Ministry figures available say 241,469 people died of AIDS in Brazil between 1980 and 2010. During the same period, 608,000 AIDS cases were registered.

Explore further: New memory for HIV patients


Related Stories

New memory for HIV patients

March 26, 2012

The hallmark loss of helper CD4+ T cells during human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection may be a red herring for therapeutics, according to a study published on March 26th in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Recommended for you

Study unlocks secret of common HIV strain

October 13, 2016

A discovery that the most common variant of the HIV virus is also the "wimpiest" will help doctors better treat millions of individuals around the world suffering from the deadly disease, according to one of the world's leading ...

Children could point the way to new HIV treatments

September 29, 2016

Children with HIV who can resist the disease progressing could point the way to new treatments for HIV infection that are more widely applicable to infected adults and children alike, an international team of researchers ...

Broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies pave the way for vaccine

September 26, 2016

A small number of people infected with HIV produce antibodies with an amazing effect: Not only are the antibodies directed against the own virus strain, but also against different sub-types of HIV that circulate worldwide. ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.