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HIV versus opportunistic viruses and Pres. Mbheki's view
Aug 16, 2000

Dear Dr Feinberg,

Thanks for this wonderful work of creating more awareness and letting people talk about problems they are confronted with, with respect to this deadly disease. Being a South African, I am concerned about the level of illiteracy pertaining to the subject. The implications of the

disease in the sub-saharan Africa are daunting.

I need your view with regard to the 13th international conference that was held in Durban, South Africa, particularly with reference to President Mbheki's opening speach. To what extend can opportunistic viruses affect people suffering from malnutrition, i.e. Issues relating to

HIV-AIDS-Poverty, do you find a link in your experience? (CAN poverty exacerbate the sickness?).

Many thanks and regards

Response from Dr. Feinberg

Actually, I attended the AIDS Conference in South Africa, and found both the conference and your countrymen to be impressive. Poverty can certainly exacerbate illness -- before there were drugs for TB in the mid-20th century, people were already getting better and TB rates were dropping just because of less crowded housing and better nutrition. In most places in the world, HIV/AIDS rates are highest among the least educated and poorest segments of the population. That said, of course HIV causes AIDS, something that former President Mandela acknowledged in his speech at the closing ceremony, and can do so even when nutrition is good.


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