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The Politics and History of AIDS Treatment in Brazil

  • Book
  • © 2009


  • Foreword by Fernando Cardoso, former president of Brazil
  • Includes 91 interviews with experts on the development of AIDS policy in Brazil, including politicians, AIDS activists and people living with AIDS, and researchers

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About this book

Brazil’s public policy response to the AIDS epidemic preceded those of many developing countries. During my tenure as President, in 1996, Brazil adopted a law guaranteeing free and universal access to AIDS treatment for all people living with HIV/AIDS. Brazil became the first developing country to provide publicly-financed AIDS treatment for all people living with HIV/AIDS. We now have one of the world’s most successful AIDS programs that is considered a model for other dev- oping countries. Today, 185,000 people receive life-saving AIDS cocktails in Brazil, and thousands of lives have been saved. But this was not an easy battle. There were many challenges along the way. Twenty years ago, Brazil’s achie- ments today might have seemed impossible. During the 1980s, in Brazil, as elsewhere, there was overwhelming stigma associated with AIDS; people living with HIV often lost their jobs and died quickly before the advent of life-saving antiretroviral drugs. Brazil’s AIDS movement was extraordinarily important in promoting progressive AIDS policies; associations of people living with HIV were the first to denounce pervasive AIDS-related discri- nation and called public attention to the importance of AIDS. Activists protested in the streets for over a decade, engaged the media, and framed AIDS as a human rights issue.

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Table of contents (8 chapters)


From the reviews:

"Amy Nunn’s book The Politics and History of AIDS Treatment in Brazil maps the political landscape that led to this landmark in public health policy, and the subsequent growth of Brazil’s AIDS treatment programme into one of the largest and most equitable in the world. ...the story Nunn tells is absolutely fascinating." -Elizabeth Pisani, The Lancet, Vol 374

"This is an exceptional academic work, one that deserves to be widely read, and that in my opinion will come to be considered the leading historical study on the social and policy response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Brazil – and one of the major policy studies on the response to the AIDS epidemic anywhere in the world." -Richard Parker, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

“The historical accuracy and completeness of the material presented is exceptional. The general lines of argument and analyses are insightful, and the quality of the historical data overall is outstanding. The Politics and History of AIDS Treatment in Brazil deserves to be read by scholars in fields ranging from public health to international relations, development studies, the history of medicine and similar fields. It is a book that cuts across disciplinary divides and provides new insight into the social and political history of Brazil.” (Richard Parker, Bulletin of Latin American Research, Vol. 30 (4), 2011)


Authors and Affiliations

  • Division of Infectious Diseases, Brown University Alpert School of Medicine, Providence, USA

    Amy Nunn

About the author

Dr. Amy Nunn is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brown Medical School where she conducts research on HIV testing, HIV risk behaviors, and how to best link people living with HIV/AIDS to treatment and care services. A social scientist by training, Dr. Nunn has worked in several countries where she conducted domestic and international research on a variety of health policy topics including HIV/AIDS, patient safety, access to reproductive health services, and family planning. Her current HIV/AIDS research is financed by the National Institutes of Health and the Brown University Center for AIDS Research. She has received research grants from Harvard University, the US Department of Defense, and the US Department of Education. Dr. Nunn holds masters and doctoral degrees from the Harvard School of Public Health and is a Fulbright Scholar.

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