South African AIDS Activists to Take Government to Court
August 16, 2007
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), South Africa's leading AIDS lobby, on Wednesday vowed to ask the high court to force the national health department to let health facilities across the nation introduce dual-drug therapy to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission. At present, only Western Cape province is allowed to offer the treatment.
TAC founder Zackie Achmat also demanded that President Thabo Mbeki reinstate Deputy Heath Minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, whom he fired last week. "It's a deep tragedy and it is creating a sense of panic and fear among us. The real reason behind the firing is his personal denialism and his irrational, unconstitutional support of the health minister," Achmat said. Mbeki has loyally defended Health Minister Tshabalala-Msimang, who has attempted to discredit the efficacy of antiretrovirals as a treatment for HIV/AIDS.
A major case brought by TAC led to a 2002 Constitutional Court decision forcing the government to provide AIDS drugs in state hospitals.
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.