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South Africa: Advisor Ian Roberts Resigns

May 5, 2000

Ian Roberts, M.D., special advisor to the South African Ministry of Health, has resigned from the government because he felt that he was not being effective in the Ministry in the battle against HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Dr. Roberts had been asked to suggest members for an international panel of AIDS advisors to focus on therapeutics. After Dr. Roberts' resignation, the panel was changed to include a majority of "AIDS dissidents" (who question whether HIV causes AIDS or whether AIDS in Africa really exists), or panelists without clear qualifications in therapeutics.

On May 2 Dr. Roberts told AIDS Treatment News that his commitment has always been to begin discussion and use of therapeutic solutions to AIDS in Africa, for both prevention and treatment -- approaches such as microbicides, micronutrients, immune therapies, control of sexually transmitted diseases which may increase the spread of HIV, and reducing the prices South Africa pays for medications in order to make them more available. He emphasized that he remains very supportive of the government and of President Mbeki's overall direction for South Africa.

According to one of the invited panelists, the invitation list has recently been expanded from 15 to more than 30 members.

ISSN # 1052-4207

Copyright 2000 by John S. James. Permission granted for noncommercial reproduction, provided that our address and phone number are included if more than short quotations are used.

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