South Africa: Finance Minister Manuel Joins in Antiretroviral Skepticism
March 20, 2003
South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel dismissed claims about the effectiveness of antiretrovirals in the treatment of HIV/AIDS as "voodoo" and said spending government money on the drugs was "a waste of very limited resources." Debating the Appropriation Bill for the national budget, Manuel said that steadfast adherence to antiretrovirals was "a position that can only be taken by pharmaceutical companies. It is not supported by fact." Opposition members of Parliament were critical of the budget's failure to provide for HIV/AIDS. Members of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) walked out of the meeting after Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang suggested that "garlic, lemon, olive oil and African potatoes" were a better option than antiretrovirals. TAC spokeswoman Sipho Mthathi said Tshabalala-Msimang's statements were "astonishing" and an indictment of her commitment to responding to the epidemic. "She never came anywhere near to responding in a way which recognizes the crisis and the need to be serious about the epidemic," said Mthathi.Adapted from:
03.19.03; Business Day (Johannesburg)
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.