South Africa has
pledged to step up efforts in HIV/AIDS prevention,
education, and treatment after years of hesitant, often
ineffectual response to the epidemic, TheNew York Times reported on Thursday.
deputy minister of health, Noziza Madlala-Routledge, said in
an interview that the revamped HIV/AIDS strategy may include
plans for widespread distribution of antiretroviral
drugs, a boost in the number of medical workers across
the country, and revising protocol for treating
HIV-positive pregnant women. South Africa is currently home
to one out of eight of the world's HIV infections.
tutelage of Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the
South African National AIDS Council has undergone
crucial restructuring and expansion. The Times
quoted President Thabo Mbeki as labeling the AIDS
crisis "bigger than any individual, minister, or
This marks a
significant point of departure for South African HIV/AIDS
policy, as President Mbeki once infamously denied the
causal relationship between HIV and AIDS. The BBC
quoted him in 2000 as saying that "extreme poverty"
was to blame for Africa's ills. The nearly unanimous
international criticism that followed led to silence from
Mbeki on the issue.
In addition to
Mbeki's influence, minister of health Dr. Manto
Tshabalala-Msimang was a staunch advocate of dietary changes
and nutritional supplements as a treatment for AIDS in
place of traditional antiretroviral treatment.
However, since Tshabalala-Msimang entered a hospital
for treatment of a respiratory infection in September, her
influence has waned considerably and Madlala-Routledge has
taken over shaping national HIV/AIDS policy.
reached a turning point in our country, with civil
society and government working in concert," the Times
quoted Madlala-Routledge as saying. "We recognize that
the campaign against AIDS needs all of us." (The
Be sure to follow Advocate on your favorite social platform
DON'T MISS THE OUT100 SPECIAL 3 DAY MARATHON STARTING NOVEMBER 24TH!
Journey through the year’s influential Out100 – the most iconic and long-standing celebration of LGBTQ+ icons and allies – in a 1-hour television special spotlighting the LGBTQ+ people shaping the world today.