Commentary & Opinion
South Africa's AIDS Scourge as Disgraceful as Apartheid: Church
August 5, 2003
The South African government's lack of action to provide AIDS drugs is as disgraceful as apartheid, Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane told reporters Tuesday in Cape Town. "The [health] minister is quite right when she says the AIDS pandemic is the responsibility of every government department, and I believe it is time her fellow ministers accepted responsibility for what has become a world disgrace as serious as apartheid," he said. Ndungane was reacting to a recent threat by the Medicines Control Council to ban nevirapine, used to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission. "How can our government not acknowledge that nevirapine is recommended in dozens of countries in the world, including our own, as a safe chronic medication?" Ndungane asked. The government is also stalling in announcing a national treatment program. "The fact that 600 people are dying daily is a serious indictment on our elected government and leaves the impression that it doesn't care whether we live or die," said Ndungane. UNAIDS estimates an even higher mortality, with 360,000 AIDS-related deaths in 2001 -- nearly 1,000 deaths per day.Adapted from:
Agence France Presse
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.