"We can't miss an opportunity like this," said Ivone De Paula, Sao
Paulo state's coordinator for sexually transmitted disease
prevention. "The fact that it's the Cup lightens the mood a bit.
People say 'Hey I'm going to watch the game, I'm having fun, why not
get tested too?'"
The program, part of the UNAIDS "Protect the Goal" HIV/AIDS
prevention program, provides rapid HIV testing and counseling, as
well as free condoms and emergency retroviral drugs. It is also
being offered in 11 other cities across Sao Paulo state where
visiting World Cup teams are based.
De Paula expected the program to conduct about 300 rapid HIV tests
outside Friday's Fan Fest, where a giant screen displayed the
Cameroon vs Mexico match. Many were getting tested for the first
time ever, she said.
"I had no idea this was going to be here, I just came across it,"
said a middle-aged man who asked not to be identified. "I wouldn't
know where to get tested otherwise, so this helps quite a lot."
[to top of second column]
Brazil usually conducts HIV and AIDS prevention campaigns during the
Carnival holiday, including widespread advertising and condom
distribution. Aggressive HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention efforts
in the South American country have been held up as a model for the
developing world for more than a decade.
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