The World Bank said Monday it will loan Brazil $109 million to fight infectious diseases, including AIDS, the first time the institution has become involved in fighting the deadly virus in Latin American or the Caribbean.

The 15-year loan will be used to block the spread of diseases, including acquired immune deficiency syndrome, in northeastern Brazil, the poorest part of the country."AIDS has become a national emergency in Brazil," a bank statement said. "By October 1987, there were an estimated 2,100 AIDS patients in the country, behind only the United States and France."