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Brazil proves developing countries can use generic medicines to fight HIV/AIDS epidemic
Date:7/13/2009

ties also pressured drug companies to reduce their prices drastically for patented medicines by threatening to produce generic versions of those drugs.

Brazil was working to contain the virus years before taking that step. Researchers noted that Brazil began its HIV education and prevention campaigns early in the 1980s, focusing on condom distribution and HIV testing. Health officials also targeted prevention campaigns to those vulnerable to contracting HIV, including sex workers, injecting drug users and men who have sex with men.

The results were enormously beneficial. Researchers said the countrys treatment initiatives also helped minimize the spread of the virus in Brazil. In doing so, health officials proved AIDS treatment was possible in a developing country. The example helped prompt sweeping changes in global public health policy and foreign aid relating to global health, with Brazils actions as an example of how to make HIV/AIDS policies more effective.

Gruskin said that Brazil also spearheaded important changes in global health, trade policies, and international human rights protections related to medicines, and the country forced greater transparency about global drug prices.

An example of the change: Since 2003, the United States and other developed countries once opposed to Brazils policies have invested billions of dollars annually to provide generic AIDS medicines to people in developing countries.

At home, Brazil kept its HIV/AIDS epidemic confined to .5 percent of the population. Today, about 660,000 Brazilians live with the disease.

Nunn said the study's findings show that developing countries around the world can dramatically reduce AIDS-related deaths by treating patients. She added that the research highlights the value of strategic global political engagement by developing countries.

Still, there are challenges ahead. The study shows that the cost of treating HIV/AIDS patients i
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Contact: Mark Hollmer
Mark_Hollmer@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

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