SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil’s Health Ministry says that while HIV remains stable the rate of infection is growing among young people and homosexuals at a fast clip.
Fabio Mesquita, who heads the ministry’s branch dedicated to fighting the virus, said Monday that infections rates among 15-24 year-olds have risen from 9.6 for every 100,000 inhabitants in 2004 to 12.7 in 2013.
Brazil has long been regarded as a model in the fight against HIV for its widespread distribution of free antiretroviral drugs. The government says some 400,000 people are receiving the treatment, out of a total of an estimated 734,000 people infected.
Activists have blamed the rise in youth infections on a lack of adequate sexual education campaigns. Brazil’s growing Pentecostal churches, which oppose sex education, are increasingly represented in the Congress.