Latest by Mark Schoofs

A New Kind of Crisis: The Security Council Declares AIDS in Africa a Threat to World Stability

The United Nations Security Council, which usually deals with armed conflict, declared on Monday that there is a new kind of threat to political stability: a disease. AIDS in Africa is killing 10 times as many people as war, sabotaging the economy, a...

By Mark Schoofs

Flirting With Pseudoscience: South Africa's President May Become the First World Leader to Believe That HIV Is Not the Cause of AIDS

Johannesburg, South Africa -- While the scientific world has long accepted that HIV causes AIDS, a fringe group of scientists has stubbornly denied that the virus plays any role in the disease. Now, these so-called AIDS dissidents have captured the a...

By Mark Schoofs

Learning From HIV: Summing Up the Lessons From Five Years of Science Reporting

Eric Davidson has spent most of his long career studying the genetic "switches" that turn genes on and off. It is laborious, painstaking work, which may be one reason Davidson has become a gruff man who doesn't suffer fools. When I called him a few y...

By Mark Schoofs

Turning Point: The International AIDS Conference Makes a Commitment to Saving Third-World Lives

Durban, South Africa -- Esther Guzha's dilemma springs from being one of the lucky ones. Two years ago, AIDS almost killed this Zimbabwean woman, wasting her down to a skeletal 80 pounds and leaving her prey to fungal infection of the brain. She was ...

By Mark Schoofs

Lost Opportunity: South African President Hedges on Cause of AIDS, Ignores Access to Medicine

Durban, South Africa, July 9 -- South African president Thabo Mbeki fumbled a prime opportunity tonight to galvanize his country against its greatest threat. HIV has infected almost a fifth of the adult population here. Yet, in an eagerly awaited spe...

By Mark Schoofs

Debating the Obvious: Inside the South African Government's Controversial AIDS Panel

Johannesburg, South Africa -- The most surreal moment happened right on the first day.

South African president Thabo Mbeki convened a panel of scientists to advise him on how to handle his country's surging AIDS epidemic, and it met on July 3 and 4 ...

By Mark Schoofs

Proof Positive: How African Science Has Demonstrated That HIV Causes AIDS

Bitoke Bisalile, Uganda -- It had to be witchcraft. For more than a year, Matia Katongole just kept getting thinner. His stepmother remembers his feet: As the bones showed through ever more sharply, they seemed to elongate.

Matia's family decided, w...

By Mark Schoofs

Fossils in the Blood: Scientists Find Ancient DNA in Living Africans

Dobe, Botswana -- In the shade of a tree, 140 kilometers from the nearest paved road in an endless plain of scrub brush and sand, Nxuka Nxu is discussing the origin of human beings. An elder of the !Kung San hunter-gatherer tribe, with a face as wrin...

By Mark Schoofs

Giving It Away: An American Pharmaceutical Giant Offers to Donate an AIDS Drug to South Africa

In an unexpected move, the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer offered last weekend to donate a crucial drug to South Africa. Called fluconazole, it treats one of the most feared AIDS opportunistic infections, a painful and lethal brain disease known as cryp...

By Mark Schoofs

The War For Drugs

Rietpoort Farm, Standerton District, South Africa -- Every time Christina Makhubu came home, it was like Christmas. Working as a housemaid in South Africa's capital, Pretoria, she made more than anyone else in her family, including her brothers, who ...

By Mark Schoofs