As the country worst hit by the epidemic, with over 600,000 cases, Brazil has decided to fight back. In 1997 the death toll continues to rise. The pharmaceutical laboratories which hold the patents for AIDS-related drugs, are still not making their treatments available to all. Urged by some of Brazil’s local non-governmental organisations, the government has decided to restore social justice by overriding the laws on medical patents. Thus arises the copying of AIDS-related drugs.
The social consequences have been immediate. AZT and triple therapies have become available and are widely distributed. The most impoverished, even those from the favelas, receive free treatment. The savings made on the health budget, and hospital care in particular, now cover the cost of manufacturing AZTs. Nowadays, women who receive treatment during pregnancy have a 90% chance of giving birth to a baby who will be HIV-negative.Families are mending themselves and life is getting back on track. The number of AIDS-related deaths has been halved in 3 years.