Members of the State of São Paulo Forum on NGO/AIDS (FOAESP) and the State of São Paulo National Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (RNP+SP) met the coordinator of the State of São Paulo Programmee on Viral Hepatitis (PEHV-SP), Sirlene Caminada last Monday, on August 14th. The meeting, requested by FOAESP and RNP+SP aimed to draw an humanitarian policy framework.

Rodrigo Pinheiro reported the FOAESP initiative on embracing not only the national and state STD/HIV/AIDS strategies as also Viral Hepatitis strategy at the parliamentary fronts, the last cause introduced through the project “A Social Demand for Hepatitis C in the State of São Paulo”, implemented by FOAESP and funded by Coalition Plus.

According to Caminada, despite of the programmes on HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis being distinct, the FOAESP engagement on viral hepatitis policy advocacy is a gain, as it “adds the HIV/ AIDS advocacy expertise to the viral hepatitis cause and FOAESP advocacy policy pushes both fronts as one, encouraging them on working together”.
As a sexual transmissive infection (STI), the hepatitis B prevention comprises the  same HIV/AIDS and other STIs prevention standards, and HBV vaccine adds efforts on avoiding disease. The Ministry of Health has newly introduced HBV vaccine campaign, which covers all population, not only the risk group or priority groups, as before, helping on hepatitis B prevention.
Caminada reported that in July, extraordinary events were organized in order to celebrate Hepatitis Day and, among them, PEHV-SP worked on a week vaccination campaign, reinforcing HBV immunization programme in the counties, reminding all population inclusion. “Most part of individuals in their 20s or younger have already taken HBV vaccine in their childhood, but part of population lacks immunization.” There is a “gap” among older population which is necessary to fill.  

There are also logistic failures in some important sectors to be fixed. For example, the STD healthcare service sector, might have a vaccination room to attend individuals who look after their services, but it fails. Not only must people who look after HIV tests at the Counceling and Testing Center (CTA) undergo vaccination, but it is also necessary to make them to take the three dosages, as prescribed.

“We need to reinforce those information to the FOAESP linked organizations at our meetings”, said Rodrigo Pinheiro.
The Parallel World of Hepatitis C
“Talking about hepatitis C, it is necessary to frame a different  approach, as it represents a different reality”, Caminada suggested, remembering the HIV and Viral Hepatitis social movements never worked together.

In Rodrigo Pinheiro’s opinion, the historical distance has decreased. “The FOAESP were invited to the Southeastern Congress on Viral Hepatitis when it was reported the programme we are developing” he said.”Our proposal is both fronts work together, as partners. “

“The goal includes to widen the access to HCV treatment and cure as well as hasten the development of HCV vaccine, widen HBV vaccination and treatment campaign as well as hasten HBV cure, not found until now ”, explained the FOAESP president.

“It is not possible to affirm that hepatitis C is a STI, despite the fact of HCV Virus might be transmitted by anal intercourse and the chances of being infected increases for times on HIV- positive individuals comparing to HIV- negative individuals.  This subject needs to be discussed among groups of people living with HIV and the subject was never addressed at CTA”, Caminada explained. “Hepatitis C needs specific discussion that has never happened”, added her.

As an agreement of the parts, PEHV-SP will participate the FOAESP ordinary meetings, every month, when it will be invited the infectious disease doctors Simone Tenore and Paulo Abraão Ferreira, both members of the CRT-AIDS-SP and the State of São Paulo Federal University (UNIFESP).

The representative Reategui and Pinheiro
National Policy Advocacy
From August 15th to 17th, members of the FOAESP visited the National Chamber and met the representative Marcos Reategui (PSD-AP), volunteering the organization on acting with the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Viral Hepatitis Strategy at the House of Representatives. The representative appreciated the attitude showing enthusiasm and promised to schedule a meeting with the parliamentary front shortly.
Public Hearing for For Viral Hepatitis
The representative Conceição Sampaio (PP-AM), who proposed the public hearing to discuss the Viral Hepatitis issue in Brazil at the Chamber Committee on Constitutional, Justice and Citizenship (CSSF), demonstrated great contentment on having the subject among the pre-legislative proposals. “Hepatitis C became a heavy burden to Amazonas and Brazil, in my opinion, addressing the issue in the Chamber is very important”, she said. The public hearing was scheduled for October 31st at CSSF.
Discrimination discussed at the Congress
The representative Kokay and Pinheiro
The secretary of CSSF, Rubens Carneiro, has reported that the bill n° 7651/2014,  which turns into crime every discrimination against viral hepatitis carriers, first and foremost against hepatitis C carriers, has priority to be discussed in committee.
Yellow July Policy Advocacy


In June, the representative Erika Kokay (PT-DF) referred to the  Committee on Constitutional, Justice and Citizenship (CCJC) of the Chamber, by the rules of the House, for the "constitutionality, legality and legislative technique" of the bill n°3870/2015, establishing Yellow July in the National Calendar. As the bill committee staff,  the congresswoman has now pledged to request its inclusion in the voting list of the CCJC.