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Mbeki reappoints health minister who opposes antiretroviral drugs

Mbeki reappoints health minister who opposes antiretroviral drugs

South African president Thabo Mbeki has reappointed controversial health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang despite strong opposition from AIDS activists who say she has hindered the government's response to the nation's AIDS crisis. Tshabalala-Msimang has said that antiretroviral medications are too toxic and unproven for the treatment of HIV disease and instead advocates a quirky diet that includes garlic, onions, olive oil, and African potatoes to delay the onset of AIDS. Mbeki was sworn in on Tuesday for his second term as president of a country where 5.3 million people are HIV-positive and he quickly reappointed Tshabalala-Msimang. South African advocacy group Treatment Action Campaign said in a statement that Tshabalala-Msimang's reappointment was a "disappointment for many of us. Our relationship with the health ministry has been fraught with tension and confrontation." Democratic Alliance party leader Tony Leon said in a statement that Tshabalala-Msimang's reappointment is "a slap in the face to...HIV/AIDS sufferers in South Africa and indicates that government is stubbornly persisting with its failed policies in the health sector."

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