Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome in Brazil
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Aim. To describe the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic in Brazil and analyze the impact of federal government measures addressing the problem since its onset.Method. Retrospective review of AIDS epidemic data from its onset in 1980 up to the last published data in June 2001.Results. AIDS was first reported in Brazil in 1980. By 1988, all 27 Brazilian states had diagnosed cases, and until June 2000 more than half of Brazilian municipalities had recorded at least one case of the disease. The AIDS incidence reached its peak between 1996 and 1997 (14.7 per 100,000 population), and then declined between 1998 and 2000 to 9 per 100,000 population. In the last two decades, the proportion of deaths has been also significantly reduced. These were not random events, but reflected the efficiency of the program implemented by the Brazilian Health Ministry's Coordination on Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS. The program includes an epidemiological surveillance modeling system, which records cases from several regular epidemiological bulletins; national network of diagnosis and monitoring of HIV-infected individuals (ill or not); highly active antiretroviral therapy available free to all patients; mother-infant protection program; educational programs on condom use; the introduction of the female condom; development of AIDS studies in different areas to provide practical solutions; constant preoccupation about drug costs accounting for the patent breaking; and national production of many drugs currently in use.Conclusion. Well-planned and implemented national program against AIDS can significantly reduce the burden of this disease to the population.