Prevention, Treatment Both Important in Fight Against HIV/AIDS, Brazilian Official Tells U.N. Population Meeting
April 8, 2005
Prevention and treatment efforts are both important in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Dr. Paulo Teixeira, a senior consultant for Brazil's National STD/AIDS Programme in the country's Ministry of Health, said on Thursday at a weeklong, annual meeting of the U.N. Commission on Population and Development in New York, the U.N. News Service reports (U.N. News Service, 4/7). The theme of the session -- which began April 4 and is expected to end Friday -- is population, development and HIV/AIDS, with a focus on poverty (Deen, Inter Press Service, 4/6). Teixeira called for an end to the competing strategies, saying that a "false dilemma" between prevention and treatment has caused "unnecessary losses" and "wasted precious time," according to the U.N. News Service. He added that all countries that have been successful in controlling their HIV/AIDS epidemics have policies that promote condom use (U.N. News Service, 4/7). "Based on international experiences, today there is no evidence whatsoever that moral recommendations, such as abstinence and fidelity, have any impact that might prevent infection and curb the epidemic," he said, adding, "We are aware that the promotion of safer sex involves serious cultural, ethical and religious matters, but we cannot allow them to become a barrier for prevention." Brazil -- which is among the world's "most successful" developing nations in combating its HIV/AIDS epidemic -- has an AIDS prevalence rate of less than 0.6% of the population, Reuters reports (Arieff, Reuters, 4/6).
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