Brazil's AIDS program coordinator said that half the AIDS cases in the country are detected only after the syndrome's symptoms appears that results in an 'unacceptable' delay that could reduce the success of treatment.
Health ministry figures prepared for a UN report showed that 43.7 percent of people diagnosed with AIDS only learned of their condition with the onset of exterior signs of immune deficiency.
Almost a third -- 28.7 percent -- died at the beginning of treatement.
'In a country like Brazil, where we have access to diagnostics and treatment, it is unacceptable' that detection comes so late, the ministry's AIDS program director, Mariangela Simao, told a media conference.
Nevertheless, her ministry pointed out that the proportion of late treatment for AIDS cases was similar in the developed countries of Spain, Britain and the United States, where 15 to 45 percent of infected people had tardy diagnoses.
The Brazilian statistics were based on 115,411 patients over the age of 15 who were diagnosed with AIDS or who started treatment for the condition between 2003 and 2006.
The worst rates for detection in Brazil were in its north, where up to 53.3 percent of cases were discovered only as symptoms appeared.
Non-governmental groups said less access to health services and a stigma surrounding the syndrome proved to be barriers in that region.
The UN AIDS coordinator for Brazil, Pedro Chequer, said the South American country still served as an example on how to combat AIDS, with its prevention campaign including the distribution of free condoms, and its free AIDS treatment.
Around one person in three in the country has had an AIDS test at least once, and two out of three young people use condoms at the beginning of their sex lives.
There are an estimated 600,000 seropositive people among the 190 million living in Brazil, a number that appears to be stable.