Brazil Takes a Stand Against US AIDS Policy

Brazil declined $40 million of US funds to fight AIDS, making it the first country to take a stand against the Bush Administration’s AIDS policy requiring recipients to sign a pledge opposing prostitution. According to Voice of America, Brazilian officials feel that condemning prostitution will damage efforts to protect sex workers from contracting and spreading HIV/AIDS, a group that has the highest risk of contracting AIDS.

According to the Associated Press, because Brazil’s prevention and treatment model includes working with sex workers, gay men, and injection-drug users, top Brazilian AIDS officials believe that signing the pledge would only hurt their AIDS efforts. Prostitution is legal in Brazil. Approximately 600,000 of Brazil’s 183 million people are infected with HIV/AIDS, reports the Associated Press.

In 2003, the United States required organizations receiving funds from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to fight sex trafficking to also sign a pledge that opposes prostitution.

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Associated Press 5/5/05, 5/4/05; BBC News 5/4/05; Voice of America 5/4/05; Salon 5/4/05

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