Brazil expands its anti-AIDS program

(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.

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New memory for HIV patients

Mar 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.

Researchers develop quick, cheap HIV/AIDS test

Mar 27, 2007

A Cornell researcher is working to develop a quick, simple and cheap immune-system test for people in the developing world. It could help HIV/AIDS sufferers in the poorest countries get appropriate treatment to extend their ...

Recommended for you

Preventing one case of HIV saves over $225K, study shows

Feb 27, 2015

How much money would be saved if one high-risk person was prevented from contracting HIV in the United States? A new study led by a researcher at Weill Cornell Medical College and published online Feb. 24 in Medical Care, answer ...

Research captures transient details of HIV genome packaging

Feb 27, 2015

Once HIV-1 has hijacked a host cell to make copies of its own RNA genome and viral proteins, it must assemble these components into new virus particles. The orchestration of this intricate assembly process falls to a viral ...

Could an HIV drug beat strep throat, flesh-eating bacteria?

Feb 25, 2015

With antibiotic resistance on the rise, scientists are looking for innovative ways to combat bacterial infections. The pathogen that causes conditions from strep throat to flesh-eating disease is among them, but scientists ...

User comments

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.