XVIII International AIDS Conference


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The Brazilian experience with a strategy to expand access to diagnosis of HIV infection

A. Bolzan1, C. Silva2, R. Burgos Filho2

1Ministry of Health, DST, HIV and HV, Brasilia, Brazil, 2Ministry of Health, Brasilia, Brazil

Issues: Brazil has a concentrated-type epidemic of HIV infection and prevalence in the overall population is 0.61%. An estimated 255 thousand people in Brazil infected by HIV are unaware of their serological status. In spite of all the government's efforts government, the population still has difficulty getting access to prevention and diagnosis services because not all patients are disposed to seek out the health services.
Description: The Brazilian STD and AIDS Programme has been implementing strategies to widen access of the general public to HIV diagnosis. The Fique Sabendo (Get Wise) mobilization strategy was created in 2003 to stimulate and decentralise the diagnosis process and break down resistance to HIV diagnosis offered in health services. In 2008 the actions used Rapid Testing for diagnosis purposes. An agreement was made among federal, state and municipal spheres of health administration whereby the federal government took responsibility for distributing: tests, prevention videos, and communication and press material; and for the organisation of testing venues and referral of positive-diagnosed patients to public health reference services. Actions were meticulously prepared with adequate technical support and maximum respect for confidentiality and follow up. 14,453 test results were obtained with a detected prevalence of 0.91%. The data shows that all the Brazilian macro-regions unfolded at least one mobilisation event using Rapid tests to diagnose HIV infection.
Lessons learned: Integral public policies for combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic must be associated to vulnerability contexts, and access to early diagnosis, prevention commodities and treatment.Activities directed at empowerment of state and municipal spheres need to be reinforced in this strategy.
Next steps: More Fique Sabendo mobilisations to continue expanding access to HIV infection diagnosis.
Ensure that actions are undertaken in an integrated manner by the three spheres of government to boost effectiveness and results.

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