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Rethinking AIDS Treatment: The Brazilian Model (encore edition)

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Adriana Oliveira selects anti-AIDS drugs in a pharmaceutical laboratory in Rio de Janeiro.  Source: Julio Guimaraes / thegully.com

Adriana Oliveira selects anti-AIDS drugs in a pharmaceutical laboratory in Rio de Janeiro. Source: Julio Guimaraes / thegully.com

Grassroots groups in Brazil have successfully educated sex workers and many others on the dangers of AIDS. The Brazilian government provides free medicine for anyone who is HIV positive, something that doesn’t even happen in all parts of the U.S. American activists say we can learn a lot from the Brazilian experience.

Independent producer Reese Erlich reports from Rio de Janeiro. Also, listen to the songs of Seu Jorge, a Brazilian musician who came from the slums and champions the cause of the poor.

Featuring:

Dr. Paulo Barroso, Federal University Hospital, Rio de Janeiro; Cleidejane Araujo, president, HIV Vida; Sandra Palagar, cook’s assistant; Jorge Margalais, supervisor, Far Manguinhos pharmaceutical factory; Eloa Dos Santos Pinheiro, former factory director, Far Manguinhos; Dr. Mauro Schecter, AIDS expert; John Iverson, co-founder, ACT UP; Seu Jorge, Brazilian actor and songwriter.

This week’s host: Tena Rubio. Contributing producer: Reese Erlich.

For more information:

Federal University Hospital

Far Manguinhos

ACT UP San Francisco – San Francisco, CA

Seu Jorge


Reviews of this program on PRX (Public Radio Exchange):

Posted: 4-16-2006
Reviewer: John Biewen, Correspondent/Producer, American RadioWorks; Audio Program Director, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, Durham, NC

This half-hour show is good radio. It includes two fine pieces from Brazil by Reese Erlich. The first 20-minute report is a solid and smart exploration of Brazil’s successful efforts to contain the spread of AIDS. Unlike the United States, Brazil provides free treatment for all HIV-positive patients. It does so, in part, by making its own anti-retroviral drugs and driving a hard bargain with the multinationals to buy their drugs at below-market prices. We also hear how grassroots groups play a key role by educating sex workers and other HIV-positive people to seek the free treatment. The point is clear: Why can’t the richest country in the world run an anti-AIDS campaign as progressive and efficient as Brazil’s? It’s an eye-opening piece on one of the many social issues going under-reported in a U.S. media landscape dominated by war and national security issues.

The show’s second report from Erlich, a profile of Brazilian musician Seu Jorge, is equally well-done.

Rating: 4/5
Adjectives: Engaging, Informational, Thoughtful

~~~

Posted: 3-14-2006
Reviewer: Sandra Smallwood-Beltran, Auditory Learner, Miami, FL

Unconventional sources are interviewed and the attention of listeners is captivated. The piece ends with an easy and constructive look at a Brazilian ghetto.

The rhythm throughout is lively. There are translations into English, but phrases spoken in Portuguese are not smothered. The ambience is genuine, and of course, there is Brazilian music.

Rating: 4/5
Adjectives: Informational, Provocative, Surprising

~~~

Posted: 12-18-2005
Reviewer: David Swatling, Producer, Radio Netherlands

This is an eye-opening investigation into the success of Brazil’s treatment program for HIV/AIDS. Taking on the multi-national pharmacuetical companies by producing their own medicines, and then providing them free to anyone who needs them, Brazil has lowered infection rates at a time when they are rising in many Western “developed” nations – the US included. Important lessons to be considered here. The piece is a bit heavy on narration, but Reese Elrich is an engaging guide as he speaks with doctors, social workers and people on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Using his excellent translators instead of neutral voice-overs kept us clearly on location. But the piece felt just a bit too much like a news report instead of allowing the rich atmosphere of Brazil to breathe. The last third of the program is a completely seperate story about singer Seu Jorge. A nice profile, but I would’ve preferred to stay longer with the more important issue of HIV/AIDS and hear more from the people involved with the struggle, perhaps their personal stories. However, I still highly recommend this piece. It’s very well produced.

Rating: 4/5
Adjectives: Informational, Provocative, Surprising

Author: Radio Project

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