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November 26, 2008

Harvard Study: South African AIDS Denialism Resulted in 365,000 Deaths

The South African government could have prevented 365,000 HIV/AIDS deaths, The New York Times reports. A study by Harvard University researchers estimates that providing antiretroviral drugs in general and drugs specifically to prevent mother-to-child transmission could have prevented those deaths.

The study concluded that the policies of former President Thabo Mbeki were to blame. After years of tension in the African National Congress, the party ousted Mbeki in September. The study has again raised questions about why Mbeki was so influenced by AIDS denialists—and why his political colleagues did not challenge him earlier.

One of the first acts of Kgalema Motlanthe, Mbeki’s successor, was to replace Manto Tshabala-Msimang. She was Mbeki’s health minister, who suggested beetroot, lemon juice and garlic as treatment. Barbara Hogan, the new health minister, has quickly reversed course.

“I feel ashamed that we have to own up to what Harvard is saying,” said Hogan, who was incarcerated for a decade during apartheid. “The era of denialism is over completely in South Africa.”

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  comments 1 - 3 (of 3 total)    

Sandy Struckmeyer, WCape, RSA, 2008-12-02 13:57:21
As a South African with HIV I think ousting Minister Manto was the best thing that could ever happen. Not only did she help thousands of people to die earlier than need be, she apparently also lost us millions of dollars in aid for HIV/Aids from overseas by not submitting a proposal in time. She was actually a sick joke!! A RSA doctor was actually jailed for providing ARV's to a pregnant woman. Luckily he has been freed and compensated since. Welcome Barbara Hogan!!

Managa Pillay, , 2008-12-02 01:17:52
We have know this as a country for a while now and yet nothing was done by fellow politicians - imagine if people had turned a blind eye to apartheid!!!!!

Simon, Los Angeles, 2008-11-27 15:04:21
You're suppressing information. Africa has been full of scandals with Aids drug trials, and over-estimates. You're also sure that Aids in Africa isn't what David Gisselquist said, dirty needles, and is sex, while sex patterns are not different on the whole between heteros here and there. This is the land of apartheid. This is the land of pushing Africans off their land and out of the public decision making process. Here, you are suppressing any studies on sexual transmission. con't.

comments 1 - 3 (of 3 total)    

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