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Originally published December 27, 2012 at 12:04 PM | Page modified December 27, 2012 at 2:24 PM

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Brazil to begin tracking numbers of HIV cases

Brazilian health officials say doctors will be required to notify authorities of every HIV case in the nation.

The Associated Press

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BRASILIA, Brazil —

Brazilian health officials say doctors will be required to notify authorities of every HIV case in the nation.

Until now, doctors were only required to notify state and federal officials when patients developed AIDS.

Brazil's Health Ministry says Thursday the move is an effort to advance highly lauded efforts to combat AIDS.

All AIDS patients in Brazil can receive free drug treatment - a program that now reaches 223,000 people and costs the nation nearly $700 million a year.

Health officials have said they believe here are another 250,000 Brazilians infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. But nobody knows for certain because up to now HIV cases haven't been tracked. Officials hope earlier treatment will prolong patients' lives.

Nearly 241,500 people died of AIDS in Brazil from 1980-2010.

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