Denial City

Earlier in the week, Thabo Mbeki – in New York attending the UN General Assembly meeting – granted an interview to the Washington Post, wherein, he observed:

“Personally, I don’t know anybody who has died of AIDS.” Asked whether he knows anyone with HIV, he added quietly, “I really, honestly don’t.”

Xolani Kunene of Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) a South African organisation lobbying the government for affordable treatment for HIV/AIDS, told BBC News Online:

“As usual it looks like Mr Mbeki is not living in the real South Africa… As president, Mr Mbeki is the first citizen of South Africa, so he should be aware of this crisis. We estimate that 600 South Africans are dying of AIDS-related illness every day.”

“If it is true that the president knows no-one who has died of AIDS then he needs to come and meet some real South Africans, read the newspapers, visit sufferers and campaign groups like our own – we can assist him to see the problem,” he added.

In my opinion, Mbeki would be well-advised to take TAC up on it’s offer. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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Robert
2022 years ago

I’m sick of Mbeki’s ridiculous attitude. An African who can’t accept the link between HIV and AIDS is not fit to run a nation.

James Dudek
James Dudek
2022 years ago

And his ridiculous support for Mugabe makes it zero from two on probably the two most important issues facing South Africa.

Observa
Observa
2022 years ago

Now,now! One must accept different cultural approaches to minor socio-economic hiccups.

Tysen
Tysen
2022 years ago

There was a movie on just the other day about how HIV was first isolated and characterised. I think it was called “And the Band Played On”. Views like his weren’t uncommon during the early stages of the epidemic. Without universities and research institutes with a high degree of public confidence, as well as a scientifically literate population, a politician can get away with this. And Mandella isn’t completely free of blame (or his predecessors).

There is even a small proportion of scientists who believe that AIDS is caused by an accumulation of viruses, of which HIV is the dominant marker. This means only those with ‘immoral’ behaviour, such as frequent sexual partners or drug abuse, can be characterised as ‘at risk’.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

There are a few “HIV isn’t the precursor to AIDS” ‘theorists’ Tysen, but their case was finally exploded by the advent of anti-retroviral therapy. The widespread uptake of ART by HIV+ people in developed countries has led to a dramatic fall in AIDS-related morbidity and mortality. It’s clearly working to slow viral progression and replication and to prevent the onset of AIDS-defining illness. It clearly wouldn’t be having such an effect if there was no linkage between the virus being so engaged and the onset (or otherwise) of AIDS.

Peter Duesberg (who remains the major dissenting voice and the fount of Mbeki’s “wisdom”) never enagages with this fairly obvious flaw in his argument. He merely observes that the treatment is worse than the disease. Millions of consumers benefiting from it would argue otherwise.

I frankly don’t accept that Mbeki ‘believes’ the Duesbergian nonsense. He simply wants AIDS to go away and obviously imagined that it might well do so if his government ignored it. The ANC thinks that a few million South Africans are eminently expendable.