AIDS Deaths Rise but New Cases Down in Brazil
May 27, 2004
In 2002, the number of new HIV/AIDS cases in Brazil dropped but the number of AIDS-related deaths rose, according to the latest health ministry figures released Wednesday. The numbers indicated a total of 11,047 people died from AIDS in 2002, up from 10,941 deaths in 2001. The number of new AIDS cases reported in 2002 dropped to 22,295 from 25,521 in 2001; there were 27,000 new AIDS cases in 2000.Adapted from:
"The new data confirm that the epidemic is on the decline in Brazil, but it calls for urgent strategic action in certain regions of the country and among vulnerable populations," the ministry said in a statement. The disease's spread is particularly worrisome in the northern Amazon region where, contrary to the national trend, the death rate has been rising since 1997, the ministry said. A lack of health services in the remote region, making early diagnosis more difficult, could be a contributing factor.
One of Brazil's most at-risk groups is women, particularly in the northern region where the death rate increased by 45.2 percent in 2002 over the previous year, the ministry said.
Brazil's highly praised program of providing AIDS drugs free of charge to patients who need them has helped cut the number of AIDS deaths in half since 1997. But only those diagnosed with the disease -- about half of the number estimated to be infected in the country -- are provided the drugs. The country has also taken the lead in preventing HIV by distributing millions of free condoms each year and addressing sexual issues in frank terms in schools, TV advertisements and during festivals like carnival.