The Brazilian Interdisciplinary AIDS Association (ABIA) credits the expansion of conservatism in the country as one of the principle factors that has caused the increase of new infections in Brazil. According to the report disseminated by the Joint United Nation’s Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), there was an 11% increase in infections in the country during the period of 2005 to 2013.
UNAIDS brought visibility to what civil society organizations in Brazil have documented and denounced for years. For at least three years, ABIA has warned that
the barriers imposed on the participation of civil society organizations and affected
communities in the construction of a response to the epidemic would result in negative
consequences in Brazil.
The Brazilian government’s actions have strengthened the stigmas and prejudices that
violate the human rights of the groups and populations affected by HIV and AIDS.
The veto of the carnival campaign in 2012 – in which a video produced for gays was
replaced with materials that were distant from the reality of young people who were
the target of the campaign – was one sign of the setbacks in facing the epidemic in the
Another disastrous action occurred in June of last year when a campaign for sex
workers was vetoed for containing affirmative content against discrimination. These
censorships, associated with the imposition of ready made policies that violate and
disrespect individual and collective subjectivities, are a reflection of the loss of the
country’s previous daring approach in the Brazilian response to AIDS.
It is inadmissible that a country, one recognized as a reference in the fight against
AIDS in the world, is now going against global tendencies in decreases in deaths and
infections from the disease.
We warn that no policy will be effective if it doesn’t confront discrimination, stigma,
and prejudice. These factors impede access to prevention and treatment, generate fear
and distrust, and produce deaths cased by the disease.
We insist that an AIDS policy should be based on the principles of human rights and
consider the specificities of the most affected populations, in particular, young people
and gays. We reinforce that it is indispensable that populations in a situations of
vulnerability have equal access to medication and health care through Brazil’s Unified
Health System (SUS).
UNAIDS estimates – which predict the control of the global epidemic by 2030 – can
renew hope internationally. Yet it is important to remember that this will only happen
if governments, especially those where infection rates are growing, are able to adopt at
least two emergency mechanisms: 1) stop the conservative wave in the construction of
responses to AIDS and; 2) implement and/or bring back the broad discussions between
government officials, researchers and civil society.
Lastly, we warn that this homework should start immediately.
Associação Brasileira Interdisciplinar de AIDS (ABIA)
Rio de Janeiro, July 18th 2014