Two organisations, both representing South African doctors and specialists, have in the past week come out in support of the widely accepted and scientifically proven theory that HIV causes AIDS.

The South African Medical Association (SAMA) and the SA Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (SASOG) both encouraged government to accept and promote the standpoint that “HIV does cause AIDS”.

“President Mbeki is a sound and highly intelligent man, Perhaps he has not consulted enough, or has somehow undermined that consultation process,” said Dr Zolile Mlisana, SAMA chairperson.

“There is no merit in him (Mbeki) confusing everyone about the causal relationship between HIV and AIDS,” said Mlisana, who added that the casual relationship between HIV and AIDS was firmly established and that this was based on well-established scientific data.

“It is not a matter of political opinion. However, there is merit in the president warning everyone about running to medicines to try and solve all health issues. Especially in the cases of medical diseases and epidemics it is important to note and emphasise that these are not arrested by the administration of medicines, but by social re-engineering, prevention and public health measures.”

Mlisana said Mbeki was wrong if he implied doubt about HIV causing AIDS, but that he was right if he was forcing South Africans to consider more than just the virus and administration of medicines on the issues of HIV/AIDS.

Professor Gerhard Lindeque, president of SASOG, said HIV/AIDS was totally preventable through responsible sexual behaviour.

He said they were concerned about the increasing incidence of HIV/AIDS among adolescents.

Lindeque stressed that guidelines for a national policy of prevention and treatment were essential.

SAMA is a professional association of medical doctors to which at least 75% of doctors in active practice, in both the public and private sector, were members.

SASOG represents at least 90% of all gynaecologists in South Africa.