In 2012, the Center for Reference and Training in HIV / AIDS (CRT) of São Paulo reached the milestone of 564 foreign patients with HIV treated free of charge since 2008, representing over 11% of people with the virus being treated on site. According to Denise Lotufo, area manager of comprehensive health care, two reasons justify the coming of these patients to Brazil: free treatment, guaranteed by the federal government through the National Health System (SUS), and non-discrimination to HIV-positive people – a reality in many countries, but increasingly smaller in Brazil.
“(The free treatment to foreigners) is the result of an international cooperation policy adopted by Brazil, which makes the care of patients and train health professionals from other countries,” said the doctor, who work in the area for 20 years. The annual cost per person is R$ 3200, according to the Ministry of Health, but there is not a balance of how much was spent during the service to foreigners.
According to the State Health Secretariat of São Paulo, in the last four years, the CRT, which coordinates the State Program for STD / AIDS-SP, had people from 36 nationalities, most of which came from Chile (81 patients), Argentina (55), Portugal (51), Paraguay (44) and Angola (42) but can also had patients from Japan (26), the United States (8) and Switzerland (2), for example. “Most would not have access to medication in their countries, only in private health care. And many patients, many even come to escape the prejudice and discrimination they suffer in their countries,” he said.