Brazil pulls "happy prostitute" anti-AIDS campaign

A prostitute stands along a street in Fortaleza, Ceara state, northeastern Brazil, on April 16, 2013. ASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images

SAO PAOLOBrazil's health ministry has removed a website proclaiming "I am happy being a prostitute."

The message was aimed at reducing the AIDS-related stigma suffered by prostitutes in an effort to encourage them to get treated for sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), but it was dropped from the ministry's website Tuesday.

Critics argued the slogan promoted prostitution.

Health Minister Alexandre Padilha told reporters: "I don't think this is a message the ministry should be sending. Our campaigns orient people how to avoid sexual transmitted diseases."

Some lawmakers had slammed the slogan ahead of his announcement.

"We are fighting childhood prostitution and here comes a campaign encouraging it," federal deputy Liliam Sá said in a recent congressional committee meeting, Reuters reported.

Brazil has seen a boom in sex tourism in recent years, the BBC reported, raising concern for state and federal officials.

The news agency added that the country will continue with its current campaign called "Not ashamed of using a condom," but will remove references to the "happy prostitute."

Brazil will host the 2013 Confederations Cup, 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.

The president of the Association of Prostitutes of the city of Belo Horizonte said in January that English classes are being offered to prostitutes ahead of the games.

Diseases that can be spread through sex include chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, HPV, pelvic inflammatory disease, syphilis and trichomoniasis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information on preventing sexually transmitted infections.

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