The advances that science and technology have brought to the fight against HIV are significant. Knowing the positive serology at an early stage greatly increases the expectation and quality of life of a person living with the virus. Antiretroviral treatment is guaranteed for everyone, through the Unified Health System (SUS), but even so, between 2011 and 2021, more than 52,000 young people aged 15 to 24 with HIV progressed to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) . The data are from the Ministry of Health which, this Friday (Feb. 17th), launched the campaign “Carnival is back and with condoms, happiness is general”, with the aim of promoting actions to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during the leaf period.

An artist’s rendition of HIV (foreground). The knobs (purple) covering the virus are sugar-protein molecules, including gp120, that shield the rest of the virus (pink).
Image/National Cancer Institute

On this holiday, the federal government reinforces that love, joy and respect for diversity are back, but it is essential to enjoy with responsibility and protection. The actions of the Ministry of Health are aimed at encouraging safe sexual behavior, encouraging the adoption of combined prevention strategies, knowing the serological status and seeking early treatment. In 2021, 40,800 cases of HIV and another 35,200 cases of AIDS were reported in Brazil through the Notifiable Diseases Information System (Sinan), according to last year’s HIV/AIDS Epidemiological Bulletin .

Also according to the document, since the first reported case in the national territory, in 1980, until June 2022, 1,088,536 cases of AIDS have already been detected. In 2021 alone, more than 11,000 deaths were recorded in the Mortality Information System (SIM) as a result of the condition, with a standardized mortality rate of 4.2 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, a rate that decreased by 26.4% between 2014 and 2021.

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Although there has been a decrease in cases in recent years, the ministerial portfolio points out that part of this reduction may be related to underreporting, especially in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In this context, HIV infection is considered stabilized in Brazil, however, still at high levels. It is a chronic condition that can be controlled through timely diagnosis and treatment, so that people living with the virus live longer, better and do not sexually transmit HIV.

Those who test themselves regularly and seek treatment at the right time, gain a lot in quality of life. For example: mothers living with HIV have a 99% chance of having children without HIV if they follow the recommended treatment during prenatal care, delivery and postpartum. In Brazil, laboratory tests and rapid tests detect antibodies against HIV in about 30 minutes. These tests are carried out free of charge by SUS, in public network units and in Testing and Counseling Centers (CTA).

HIV in the world

Data from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) reinforce that the epidemic still needs to be fought. In the year 2021, more than 750,000 men worldwide have acquired HIV. That year, they accounted for 51% of new virus infections. At least 1.5 million people became newly infected with HIV in the same year of 2021. In total, this number has already exceeded 84 million people infected since the beginning of the epidemic.


The use of an external or internal condom, in all sexual relations, is a safe and effective method for protection against HIV and other STIs. If there is sexual exposure with risk of infection, the user must be informed about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which must be started within 72 hours.

If not diagnosed and treated early, some infections can lead to serious complications. It is important that there is no self-medication and that the treatment is prescribed by a qualified health professional. It is also extremely important that sexual partners are alerted whenever an STI is diagnosed, so that they also undergo treatment.