The public health system in Brazil as a promoter of sexual and reproductive health and rights: how does it help in the fight against HIV/AIDS?

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Gabrielle B. V de Souza and Ricardo Costa, two medical students at Tiradentes University (Sergipe, Brazil). They are affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


The public health system in Brazil has revolutionized access to health care: since 1990, it offers free health care to all 209 million Brazilians [1]. Guided by the principles of equity, integrality, and universality; the unified health system (Sistema Único de Saúde [SUS]) contemplates the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in all its three levels of care – divided according to the category of services [2].

At the primary level, Brazilians have access to sex education programs, reproductive planning, prenatal care, screening for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), immunization against Hepatitis B and HPV, lubricants, and male and female condoms. Regarding the Education, Culture, and Social Assistance spheres, SUS also operates in other issues that impact the HIV epidemic. These topics are conflicts of power and violence in relations between genders, intolerance between generations and their cultural values, and marginalization of sexual minorities (such as sex workers and LGBTI+ people) [4]. At the secondary level, we have free and immediate access to confirmatory tests, treatment of HIV infection and other STIs, and Pre-prophylaxis (prioritizing sex workers and the LGBTI+ community), and Post-Exposure to HIV (official protocol addressing victims of sexual violence). Finally, at the tertiary level, the adoption of the protocol for the prevention of vertical transmission in childbirth care and the provision of milk for children of mothers living with HIV represent considerable achievements in the field of SRHR.

It is necessary to recognize that sexual and reproductive health care is one of SUS’s priority areas of action [3]. Even if there is no cure for HIV, it is possible to fight it through a well-structured healthcare system, which does not neglect the importance of SRHR [4]. The measures adopted in Brazil – proven to be effective in reducing the transmission of the virus – represent a way to combat this problem [4]. Statistics only confirm: our 2019 national epidemiological bulletin demonstrates that there is a relationship between the adoption by SUS of the SRHR actions and the decrease in the rate of detection and mortality from AIDS [5]. Thus, it is possible to affirm that the promotion and support to a universal and free health system that includes the guarantee of SRHR is a fundamental step in combating the HIV epidemic.

Given this, it is notable that the Brazilian public health system, a reference to the world, is essential for combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic – Brazil is one of the few countries that offers free care to people living with HIV [1]. Furthermore, it is impracticable to ignore the intimate relationship between politics and sexual and reproductive health care universal access. In this context, the fight against the HIV epidemic must also be done in the political sphere: choosing delegates and politicians who prioritize the guarantee of sexual and reproductive rights. Therefore, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights should be a priority in public health policies – to efficiently decelerate transmission, sequelae, and deaths caused by the HIV epidemic.

References

[1] DUARTE, E; EBLE, LJ; GARCIA, LP. 30 anos do Sistema Único de Saúde. Epidemiol. Serv. Saúde,  Brasília, v. 27, n. 1, e00100018, mar. 2018. Disponível em <http://scielo.iec.gov.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1679-49742018000100001&lng=pt&nrm=iso>. acessos em 24 nov. 2020. Epub 09-Mar-2018.  http://dx.doi.org/10.5123/s1679-49742018000100018.

[2] CASTRO, M. C. et al. Brazil’s unified health system: the first 30 years and prospects for the future. The Lancet, v. 394, n. 10195, p. 345-356, 2019. ISSN 0140-6736, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(19)31243-7. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673619312437)

[3] BRASIL, Ministério da Saúde. Secretaria de Atenção à Saúde. Departamento de Atenção Básica. Saúde Sexual e Saúde Reprodutiva. CADERNOS DE ATENÇÃO BÁSICA Nº 26. Brasília: Ed. Ministério da Saúde, 2013. 302p. 1 ed.

[4] BRASIL, Ministério da Saúde. Secretaria de Atenção à Saúde. Departamento de Atenção Básica. HIV/AIDS, hepatites e outras DST. CADERNOS DE ATENÇÃO BÁSICA Nº 18. Brasília: Ed. Ministério da Saúde, 2006. 197p. 1 ed.

[5] BRASIL, Ministério da Saúde. Secretaria da Vigilância em Saúde. Boletim Epidemiológico de HIV/ AIDS. Brasília: Ed. Ministério da Saúde, 2019. Edição especial

About the authors

Gabrielle B. V de Souza and Ricardo Costa are medical students at Tiradentes University (Sergipe, Brazil). They’re both Local Officers on Sexual and Reproductive Health including HIV/AIDS at International Federation Of Medical Students’ Association Brazil UNIT (2020). Gabrielle is a member of LINFECTO (Infectology League) at Tiradentes University. Ricardo is also director at his university’s Obstetrics & Gynecology Academic League (2019-2020). Faithful SDSR advocates, they also believe and defend the existence of SUS, a public health system that offers free health care to 209 million Brazilians.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Pro-EU forces won a 70% triumph in the European elections

Greater EU Civil Protection capacity needed in light of lessons from COVID-19

The world’s impact in a small Brazilian town and the increased demand for mental health

What will education look like in 20 years? Here are 4 scenarios

High level political talks didn’t break the stalemate in Ukraine

EU officially launches its first naval mission against migrant smugglers

Half the world’s refugee children not in school, UN agency finds

What does Tsipras have to offer to the rest of Europe? Is it worth an early advance of €10 billion? Berlin sturdily denies it

Spread Her Wings: Let Her Fly

This is the environmental catastrophe you’ve probably never heard of

Protecting farmers and quality products: vote on EU farm policy reform plans

Donors must do more to align development finance with climate goals

Can the Notre-Dame fire freeze the ‘Yellow Vests’ uprising?

What we need is more (and better) multilateralism, not less

ICC Appeals Chamber acquits former Congolese Vice President Bemba from war crimes charges

Venezuelan exodus to Ecuador reaches record levels: UN refugee agency steps up aid

Here’s how innovation could help car companies hit by COVID-19

Adriatic Sea: MEPs adopt multiannual plan for fisheries

GSMA Mobile 360 Series – Latin America, in association with The European Sting

How the Fourth Industrial Revolution can help us beat COVID-19

Dutch voters reject EU-Ukraine partnership and open a new pandora’s box for the EU

How we can embrace the electrical vehicle transition by adopting smart charging

Trade in fake Italian goods costs economy billions of euros

No hard drivers in sight to remodel the stagnating affairs of the EU

Charges against Baha’i in Yemen must be dropped: UN experts urge release of detainees

Conditions deteriorating alarmingly in Yemen, warns senior UN official

Six months after the Beirut port explosion: reflections from a first responder

5 things you need to know about your microbiome

GREXIT final wrap-up: nobody believed Aesop’s boy who cried wolf so many times

EU Parliament raises burning issues over the FTA with the US

UN Security Council hails ‘courage’ of Afghan voters

TTIP is not dead as of yet, the 15th round of negotiations in New York shouts

The Tears of lovely Memories

Parliament elects the von der Leyen Commission

Boosting the EU’s Green Recovery: EU invests over €2 billion in 140 key transport projects to jump-start the economy

The Great Reset needs great leaders to help the most vulnerable

How global tech can drive local healthcare innovation in China

EU elections 2019: Rise of nationalist trends and populism in Europe challenges the EU edifice

MEPs back measures to reconcile career and private life

Fostering global citizenship in medical students through exchanges

Brazilian officer a ‘stellar example’ of why more women are needed in UN peacekeeping

Dreaming of China

Code of Practice on Disinformation one year on: online platforms submit self-assessment reports

South Asia can become an innovation hub. Here’s how

First calls under Horizon Europe to be launched by the European Research Council

European Commission calls on national political parties to join efforts to ensure free and fair elections in Europe

An American duel in Brussels: Salesforce against Microsoft over Linkedin deal

How Mobile Technology is Changing the Healthcare System

SRHR the indispensable ally in ending HIV

Mental health in the pandemic: how to stay emotionally stable?

Suicide Prevention: Using Graduation as a Transformative Tool

As the inventor of copy and paste dies, here are other computing innovations we take for granted

Give a chance to the brothers of Ailan: reception of refugees in Greece

Rare diseases are more common than you might think

Coronavirus: rescEU medical stockpile expands in four Member States

Finland has giant supermarkets that only stock second-hand goods

Working Muslim women are a trillion-dollar market

Why does the whole world want Britain to stay in the EU?

New rules make household appliances more sustainable

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s