Brazil: HIV-Positive Need to Seek Earlier Treatment

Brazil plans to set up diagnostic centers in remote areas and increase advertising campaigns to get people with HIV/AIDS to seek treatment sooner, health authorities said Thursday.

BY Matthew Van Atta

February 15 2008 12:00 AM ET

Brazil plans to
set up diagnostic centers in remote areas and increase
advertising campaigns to get people with HIV/AIDS to seek
treatment sooner, health authorities said Thursday.

Mariângela
Simão, the head of the Health Ministry's National
Program of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS,
said many Brazilians with HIV are waiting too long to
seek treatment. She cited a recent survey of 115,441
AIDS patients that showed that 44% only sought treatment
when they already had severe immunological
deficiencies. ''These figures are unacceptably high
for a country like Brazil,'' she said.

Simão noted
that those who sought treatment at an early stage lived
longer and ''remained active on the job market, while those
who didn't either became too weak to work or died.''
Speaking at a news conference, she blamed delays in
seeking treatment on problems reaching diagnostic
centers and some people's refusal to admit that they are at
risk and be tested. To deal with this problem, she
said the government plans to set up diagnostic centers
in remote areas and increase advertising to convince
people to seek treatment.

Some 600,000
Brazilians are HIV positive. The Brazilian government's
anti-AIDS program, which provides free antiretroviral
treatment to anyone who needs it, is considered by
international organizations as a model for the
developing world.

The government
also distributes tens of millions of condoms each year in
an effort to stem the spread of HIV, the virus that causes
AIDS. (AP)

Tags: Health

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