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The price of denial

Written by Anna Maria Lombard

In June 1999 Thabo Mbeki became president. And so began one of the most destructive episodes in our recent history ‘€“ AIDS denialism. Mbeki questioned the very existence of a sexually-transmitted virus that caused AIDS.

Manto Tshabalala Msimang

Manto Tshabalala Msimang

MBEKI IN PARLIAMENT, 20 Sept 2000: You see if you ask the question does HIV cause AIDS’€¦ the question is, does a virus cause a syndrome? How does a virus cause a syndrome? It can’€™t.

He undermined antiretroviral medication… calling it toxic. Yet ARVs are the only drugs scientifically proven to suppress HIV and save lives.

This story counts the cost – in lives – of ten years of denialism and delays in treating desperate people…

There were over three hundred thousand preventable AIDS deaths during the Mbeki era. We ask: Is there ANYTHING that can make up for this shocking fact?

 

About the author

Anna Maria Lombard