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Brazil Refuses $40 Million US for AIDS Funding

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Issue: 29 Section: International News Geography: Latin America Brazil Topics: Women, AIDS

May 17, 2005

Brazil Refuses $40 Million US for AIDS Funding

by Sandy Hager

Protesting demands that it agree to a declaration condemning prositution, Brazil became the first country to reject funding under the United States' AIDS programme.

As a result Brazil forfeits the possibility of receiving $40 million US in new AIDS funding, claiming the declaration is actually counteractive in the attempt to eliminate prosititution and the spread of AIDS.

"This would be entirely in contradiction with Brazilian guidelines for a programme that has been working very well for years. We are providing condoms and doing a lot of prevention work with sex workers, and the rate of infection has stabilized and dropped since the 1980s." Explains Sonia Correa, co-chair of the International Working Group on Sexuality and Social Policy, in a recent Guardian report.

The US demand for such declarations is not isolated to the Brazilian case. As the Guardian reports, in general, "most US AIDS funding goes directly to organisations working in the field and much will be channelled through faith organisations that back the no-abortion, pro-abstinence and anti-prostitution stance of the US neo-conservatives."

The same report suggests that Brazil was able to resist these demands because of strong HIV/AIDS policies and a "strong partnership between government and non-governmental organizations that encouraged a united response to Washington."

Correa sees Brazil's decision to refuse US funds as setting an important precedent but warns that other countries may not be strong enough to resist US influence. "The US is doing the same in other countries -- bullying, pushing and forcing -- but not every country has the possibility to say no."

The Guardian: Brazil spurns US terms for Aids help

AlterNet:Brazil to U.S.: Keep Your Money

Reuters: Brazil spurns US AIDS cash over prostitution issue

Reuters: US AIDS Policy: More Harm Than Good, Says Brazil

BBC: Brazil turns down US Aids funds

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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