South Africa Leadership Wakes Up to HIV/AIDS
By Bonnie Goldman
November 6, 2009
In other recent good news, South African President Jacob Zuma finally broke definitively with South Africa's former government when he said in a speech, "Knowledge will help us to confront denialism and the stigma attached to the disease." He also discussed the vast numbers of people in South Africa who are dying of HIV/AIDS-related causes.
The lead activist organization in South Africa, the Treatment Action Campaign, called the speech "one of the most important speeches in the history of AIDS in South Africa." In his speech, Zuma detailed how he would address HIV/AIDS in South Africa:
All South Africans must know that they are at risk and must take informed decisions to reduce their vulnerability to infection, or, if infected, to slow the advance of the disease.
Let's hope Zuma remains committed -- for the sake of all South Africans. We have to remember that an estimated 330,000 South African adults and 35,000 South African infants died prematurely of AIDS-related causes because of the South African government's inaction. The number of people living with HIV swelled under President Thabo Mbeki and his health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang (who infamously insisted that HIV could be treated with a mixture of lemon, garlic and herbs). This was a completely avoidable tragedy in the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Copyright © 2009 Body Health Resources Corporation. All rights reserved.
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Bonnie Goldman was TheBody.com's editorial director from its founding in 1995 until January 2010. Previously she was a book editor, journalist and HIV/AIDS activist.
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January 28, 2010 - Time for a Change
January 4, 2010 - HIV/AIDS Travel Ban Finally, Officially Over
November 24, 2009 - Frequent Cervical Cancer Screenings Are Still Important for Women With HIV
November 6, 2009 - South Africa Leadership Wakes Up to HIV/AIDS
November 5, 2009 - Signs of Change: Ryan White Reauthorization, Travel Ban Removal
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