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By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Free rapid HIV tests have been provided in Central Rio by medical staff from the State Health Department as the city marked of World Aids Day, celebrated annually on December 1st. Free condoms are also being given out at the event, whose main slogan, “Fique Sabendo” – “Be Aware”, reminds people of the need to know their HIV status.

World Aids Day has been marked in Brazil since 1988, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil news
World Aids Day has been marked in Brazil since 1988, photo by Divulgação.

The free testing will continue in downtown Rio on Friday December 2nd from 9AM to 5PM as part of the campaign, with organizers hoping people will stop by and take a “spontaneous” test whether they believe they might be at risk or not.

The public can ask advisers any questions they have about HIV, AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs).

This Saturday, HIV and syphilis tests will also be offered by 3,200 medical staff at some 185 health centers and family clinics around the city.

It is hoped up to 30,000 people will take advantage of the tests.

Pedro Chequer, director of UNAIDS in Brazil, says that 250,000 people in the country have HIV and are unaware of the fact.

Those wanting to find out where their closest participating center is can call 1746, and more information about the project can be found at www.aids.gov.br/fiquesabendo

Read more (in Portuguese).

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