The much-anticipated Carnival in Brazil comes to an end today, March 8th, better known in the United States as “Fat Tuesday”.  After four days of wild celebration, partygoers prepare themselves for 40 days of Lent until Easter. Carnival is an opportunity to not only let loose before Lent, but also for Brazilians to celebrate their culture with music, dancing and fun.  Carnival in Brazil is all about excess, lack of inhibition, and celebrations. This giant celebration takes months and months of planning.  For the Samba schools that perform in the Samba stadium “Sambodromo”, dance moves must be choreographed, music written and rehearsed and elaborate costumes designed. These parades attract millions of spectators, both from Brazil and the rest of the world, as the biggest and best Samba schools show off their costumes and dance moves that have taken nearly all year to put together. Rio de Janeiro residents flood the streets to have their own neighborhood celebrations for Carnival, creating an euphoric atmosphere throughout the tropical city. Behind the Carnival scenes, there is a lot of planning and preparation that takes places in the Brazilian Health Ministry. Brazil, well known for being a pioneer in HIV/AIDS awareness, increases its enthusiastic and aggressive HIV/AIDS preventions campaign during this 2011 Carnival season. During Carnival this year, the Brazilian Health Ministry distributed 89 million free condoms, which is 26 million more than last year. In addition, HIV/AIDS prevention announcements will be displayed extensively on television, radio and Internet advertisements throughout Carnival in an attempt to target and educate as many people as possible.      

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