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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

On-line version ISSN 1678-4561Print version ISSN 1413-8123


ELIAS, Lucília de Almeida  and  BASTOS, Francisco Inacio. Public health, harm reduction and the prevention of blood-borne and sexually transmitted infections: a review of the core concepts and their implementation in Brazil. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2011, vol.16, n.12, pp.4721-4730. ISSN 1678-4561.

This article assesses the historical context and the conceptual frame of setting up damage containment programs in the field of public health, with special emphasis on the Brazilian experience. The survey seeks to assess the relevance of such programs in the ongoing efforts to curb the spread of blood-borne and sexually transmitted infections, especially AIDS and hepatitis C. Findings from both the Brazilian and the international literature demonstrate that practical damage containment initiatives tend to be more effective when integrated with other public health measures based on common goals. Damage containment initiatives, aligned with the basic principles of public health do not limit themselves to a priori models or health care per se. They encompass a variety of pragmatic measures based on public policies and should be in line with the demands of the communities since the moment of their inception and implemented in the context of full partnership with such communities.

Keywords : Damage containment; Public Health; Substance abuse; Blood-borne pathogens; Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

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