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close this bookSexual and Reproductive Health in Brazil (UNAIDS - Best Practice Digest, 2000, 3 p.)
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Sexual and Reproductive Health in Brazil

Summarised from the book Saexual e Reprodutiva no Brasil: dilemas e desafios (Sexual and Reproductive Health in Brazil: Dilemmas and Challenges) edited by Loren Galvand Juan Diaz, SPaulo: Editora Hucitec, Population Council, 1999

Individual copies are R$16,00 dollars, and may be ordered from: Atlantis Livros Ltda, Rua Joaquim Guarani, 322 SPaulo, Brasil CEP 04707-061. Phone: (55)(11)5183-5377. E-mail:; contact person: Ms.Ang. If ordering within Brasil, e-mail:; contact person Mr Flamarion Rocha.

This book, written in Portuguese, provides diverse and provocative views of the ongoing debate on sexual and reproductive rights and health and gender roles in Brazil. It is intended to serve as a reference for professional and graduate students and as a resource for women’s groups, and non-governmental and governmental organizations working in the fields of reproductive and sexual health, reproductive rights, and gender issues.

Until recently, the focus on women’s health dealt mainly with reproductive issues and maternal and child health. Sexuality, men’s roles in reproductive health and gender issues were neglected themes. But according to the editors, changes in the concept of reproductive health have been influenced by a democratization of the decision-making process and the mobilization of Brazilian women’s groups. The definition of reproductive health has been expanded to include the rights of men and women to enjoy their sexuality, free of the risk of contracting STDs, whether or not they want children.

The book has three main sections. The Demographic, Social, Political, and Health System Context provides background. Ana Goldani examines the Brazilian demographic picture in the 1990s, highlighting the historical persistence of inequalities that have led to different opportunities and restrictions for diverse social groups, depending on their gender, colour and region of residence. She also discusses aging and the ‘youth wave’, and the new family structure. In Chapter Two, Maria Beta ila and S Corrdetail the health and reproductive rights and women’s movements in Brazil during the past two decades, and their relationship to political parties, the medical establishment, and religious institutions. In Chapter Three, Andredici analyzes the Brazilian Health System from 1988 to 1998, and discusses progress, deficiencies and future challenges. In Chapter Four, Josormiga examines aspects of the national Women’s Health Integral Care Program, including its history, mission and basic strategic plan.

In Theoretical and Practical Reflections, articles deal with sexual and reproductive health. gender relationships, the body and sexuality. Loren Galvexamines the evolution of the concepts of sexual and reproductive health, women’s health and maternal health, in Brazil and worldwide. In Chapter Six, Lourdes Bandeira discusses gender, the body and sexuality; in Chapter Seven, Ana Tanaka and Augusta Alvarenga focus on the abuse of technology and other ethical issues related to conception and contraception, and abuses related to birth practices, including unnecessary caesarean sections. In Chapter Eight, Margarita Diaz and Juan Diaz propose strategies to improve quality of care: community participation, inclusion of gender and sexuality in programme planning and implementation, and education and training of health care providers and community members.

Themes in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Gender reviews several dominant topics currently under discussion by the medical community, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and the public. These include the high rates of caesarean section in Brazil; breastfeeding and an evaluation of laws designed to ensure that working women are able to breastfeed their infants; the relationship between sexuality and violence; contraceptive use in relation to STDs and AIDS, including epidemiological data about women’s vulnerability to HIV; prevention and control of uterine and cervical cancer, and myths and realities concerning the menopause.