Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
RODRIGUES-JUNIOR, Antonio Luiz and CASTILHO, Euclides Ayres de. AIDS along Brazil's borders, 1990-2003. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2009, vol.25, n.1, pp. 31-38. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892009000100005.
OBJECTIVE: To study the AIDS epidemic in Brazil's border areas, from the spatial and temporal perspective. METHODS: This was an ecological study in which the cases of AIDS reported to the Ministry of Health of Brazil from 1990-2003 were grouped according to "hunger areas" as defined by Josué de Castro in the 1940s and according to 19 cultural subregions. Spatial assessment was based on incidence rates for border municipalities; temporal assessment considered the absolute number of cases occurring quarterly from 1990-2003 in each of the hunger areas studied (Extreme South, Midwest, and Amazon). RESULTS: During the study period, 7 973 cases of AIDS were reported from the Brazilian border areas: 648 in the Amazon area, 1 579 in the Midwest, and 5 746 in the Extreme South (populations of 668 098, 895 489, and 2 769 361, respectively). The subregions with the highest AIDS incidence rates in each of the three border areas were those near triple-borders, between more than two Latin American countries. Sexual transmission was predominant, with heterosexual transmission being the most frequent, followed by transmission by male homosexuality. These two categories accounted for 87.2% of the cases reported. The estimates of the trend parameter in the temporal analysis were 0.53 (P < 0.0001), 0.83 (P < 0.0001), and 3.47 (P < 0.0001), respectively, for the Amazon, Midwest, and Extreme South areas. CONCLUSION: The improvement of health care services along Brazil's borders may be a strategy for territorial integration and for dealing with the AIDS epidemic, as long as social, economic, and cultural differences are taken into account.
Keywords : HIV; acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; border areas; ecological studies; Brazil.