New data to inform work for prevention and care of STDs and HIV/AIDS in São Paulo
São Paulo, 2 September 2013 - New data on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV/AIDS released recently will guide the work plan to be developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the São Paulo's Municipal Program on STD/AIDS, including prevention and care activities in female prisons in the state of São Paulo.
New epidemiological bulletin
Last Tuesday, 27 August, a seminar held by São Paulo's Municipal Health Secretariat presented the data disclosed in the Epidemiological Bulletin of AIDS, HIV and STD in the City of São Paulo and discussed strategies for coping with the AIDS epidemic. According to the report, the peak of the AIDS epidemic in São Paulo took place in 1996, with 67 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. In 2010, there was a decrease of 53% in the incidence of the disease, with 21.3 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
There was also a reduction in AIDS mortality, which fell from 31 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1995, to eight per 100,000 inhabitants in 2010. Regarding gender distribution, an increase in the gender ratio drew attention, going from 2 men /1 woman until 2010 to up to 3 men /1 woman in 2011.
With systematic prophylaxis of vertical transmission of HIV, there was a drop of 68% in the incidence rate among the population aged zero to four years old between 2000 and 2004, followed by a further decrease of 26% between 2008 and 2011.
In addition, the report highlighted that the aging of people living with HIV (PLHIV), due to the increase in the number of individuals who were diagnosed after 50 years of age and the prolonged life of PLHIV, creates health demands related to comorbidities, which are increasingly frequent, and should be addressed by the health system.
HIV and syphilis in the female prison system of the state of São Paulo
Also in August, the Ministry of Health and the Prison Administration Department of the state of São Paulo issued a preliminary research on HIV and Syphilis in the Female Prison System of the State of São Paulo. Among the themes explored in the partnership between UNODC and São Paulo's Municipal Program on STD/AIDS, the area for prevention and care of STDs and HIV/AIDS in the context of vulnerability, especially in the prison system, stands out.
The data show that 2.8% of the 8,914 women deprived of liberty who participated in the study tested positive for HIV, while 7% tested positive for syphilis. Among HIV-infected women, 20% reported that they had used or were users of non-injecting drugs. It is important to note that these data are still under review.
The study was conducted in all female prisons in the state of São Paulo, between 2012 and 2013. Among the 11,525 women in custody in the 19 prisons consulted, 83.2% or 8,914 participated in the study. The female prison population in Brazil is of approximately 33,289 women.
According to the coordinator of São Paulo's Municipal Program on STD/AIDS, Eliana Battaggia Gutierrez, the city collaborated with the study by providing training and performing rapid tests for diagnosis of HIV and syphilis in the female prisons of Santana, São Miguel and Butantã. "This experience resulted in the conviction that it is necessary for the Municipal Program, as well as other areas of São Paulo's Health Secretariat, to act systematically on prevention, prophylaxis and treatment of STDs, HIV, AIDS and hepatitis among the population deprived of liberty", said Gutierrez.
Nara Santos, coordinator of the HIV/Aids unit of UNODC's Liaison and Partnership Office in Brazil, emphasized the importance that the work in partnership with São Paulo's Municipal Program on STD/AIDS be developed based on current data: "For an adequate response to AIDS and other STDs in contexts of vulnerability, such as the prison system, it is necessary to know the prevalence situation and associated vulnerability factors".
UNODC is one of the co-sponsoring agencies of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and is the lead UN agency for HIV prevention among drug users and among people living in deprivation of liberty.
Related information (in Portuguese):
* With information from São Paulo's Municipal Health Secretariat.