UNODC celebrates successful partnerships visiting partner programs in Sao Paulo

Brasilia, 05 February 2015 - On January 20 th, Monica Beg, head of the HIV unit of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna, has been to São Paulo to get to know the actions the Municipal STD/AIDS Program. 

The goal of the partnership between UNODC and the Municipal STD/AIDS Program is to support responsive actions to HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), focusing on contexts of vulnerability to alcohol and other drugs, especially the crack-cocaine.

On the same day, the UNODC team, composed by Nara Santos, Programme Officer for HIV/AIDS, and by Monica Beg, Head of UNODC HIV Unit at Vienna, visited the program "With Open Arms", which completed one year in January. This program is an initiative of the City of Sao Paulo, which focuses in people who use crack and who are in a situation of great social vulnerability.

UNODC was involved in the elaboration of the program and supported the development of rapid HIV and Syphilis tests among the people attended by the "With Open Arms". Out of the 218 total HIV tests, 4% were positive, and out of the 144 syphilis tests, 26.4% were diagnosed positive. All positive cases were referred to the health service, which is part of the program. 

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The program's first year  

The "With Open Arms" program , implemented by the City of Sao Paulo at the Luz district, downtown, celebrates its first anniversary this month with positive numbers, with a reduction of the "flow" of people who use drugs, estimated at 80%, and a decrease of crime in that region. The program currently has 453 registered beneficiaries and has carried out more than 54,000 health consultations to drug addicts, and has also made 599 dental care appointments. 21 beneficiaries are already in process of autonomy and working outside of the program scope, meanwhile other 321 work in fronts sweeping streets and cleaning public squares.

Before the implementation of the project, that district, popularly known as Cracolândia, received daily about 1,500 people who use drugs, especially crack. Currently, according to the City Department of Health, the "flow", as it is called the drug use scene, is concentrated only in the region of Alameda Cleveland with Helvetia Street and it hosts an average of 300 people a day - a reduction of 80% over the past 12 months.


More than 490 people got new documents over the past year, the children were placed in day care centers, and 18 beneficiaries enrolled in courses at the National Program for Access to Technical Education and Employment (Pronatec).

Social assistance teams follow up closely each of the beneficiaries and families participating in the program, and refer them to the partner areas. Children, for example, are sent to kindergartens and municipal schools and the Centers for Children and Adolescents (CCA) for part time activities. Aiming to rescue the people's sense of citizenship, the regularization of the documents of the participants is also provided by the project. In addition, the agents act constantly trying to create or redeem bonds between the beneficiaries and their families.

One year of the "With open arms" program in numbers 

453 registered beneficiaries

54,000 health consultations for drug addicts

599 dental service events

21 beneficiaries in autonomy process and working outside the program

321 working in the street sweeping service and squares cleaning

490 people got new documents

An 80% reduction in user flow over the past 12 months

2,486 crack rocks seized by the Metropolitan Civil Police

Military Police data

A 50% drop in vehicle thefts in this region compared to the previous year, prior to implementation of the program

A 33% drop in pickpocket thefts

83% more arrests for drug trafficking


To learn more, access Sao Paulo Prefecture's website:

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