Brazil and AIDS: supporting prostitutes' rights
Brazil pays for most of its AIDS programme itself. The nation's taxpayers, for instance, ensure that 170,000 Brazilians receive highly active anti-retroviral therapy (or 'HAART') for free. The country also receives some outside aid to combat the disease.
But recently, as this editorial in The Lancet notes, the Brazilian government surprised many by rejecting what is left of a US$48 million grant from the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
The government made this bold decision because the USAID grant contained a clause stipulating that Brazil's HIV/AIDS programme could not mention prostitutes' rights when it called for research proposals.
The move is important, the editorial argues, because it sends out the message that grants discriminating against people because of race, religion, sexuality or profession are unhelpful. In any case, the USAID clause ignores an important point: that Brazil's programme is succeeding partly because it works closely with prostitutes' associations.
Link to full editorial in The Lancet (free registration required)