Friday, December 15, 2006

South Africa finally starting to realize what AIDS is…

Each time I have read about AIDS policies in South Africa I have been amazed. South Africa is, as far as I know, a relatively developed country if you compare it to other nations in the same area, yet somehow they have managed to avoid reading about AIDS research for at least a decennium. Only a few years ago president Mbeki (picture) questioned whether HIV and AIDS were related(!). Since then his unbelievable ignorance has generated headlines on a regular basis. On one of his particularly bright moment Mbeki said that he did not know anyone who had died in AIDS. Not long before he uttered these words his own press secretary had succumbed to the disease, not to mention the 600 people who die from AIDS in South Africa every single day!

The climax happened in august this year when South African representatives visited the international AIDS conference, proudly exhibiting their best cures against the disease, such as beets and garlic. They were severely ridiculed because of this, and a speech by AIDS activist Stephen Lewis (who is by the way not welcome in South Africa) received wild cheers when he described South Africa’s AIDS policy as insanity (I would have clapped to). Since then South Africa, thank god, have started to give their population conventional medicine which can help increase life span as well as life quality. Out of the 5.5 million HIV carriers in South Africa today, 213000 are receiving medicines, a figure which is currently increasing with 11000 per month. Too slow indeed, but better than it has been before.

What I really find hard to understand about all this is why? What do politicians have to gain by letting their people suffer more than is necessary? Does anyone know? Or is it really true that they believe Garlic and beets (or having sex with infants) really helps? Do religious beliefs play a role? In all fairness you can find weird cures for most things in most countries, but rarely does the government itself hold such outrageous beliefs about such a serious belief…

Most of this I read in yesterdays (14th of December 2006) issue of In yesterdays Svenska dagbladet.


sadunkal said...

Your knowledge about this controversy seems to be pretty superficial. There's much more behind Mbeki's questioning, but unfortunately you won't see all that portrayed objectively in the media. Mbeki may have been the most sane president and African country will ever get. You have to look deeper into the origins of the HIV/AIDS theory to understand what all that is about. Some history of the controversy in Africa can be found here:

AIDS in Africa

Here's a quote from one of the last documents, after the panel report was published:

"The interim report deserves to be treated with the greatest care, attention and analysis possible. Instead, the media has dismissed it with derogatory comments from HIV/AIDS supporters and its own editorials. What we have seen is a number of common, but poorly substantiated conclusions.

The media has said the report reflects a government stance that HIV causes AIDS. This was stated by, among others. Professor Hoosen Coovadia on SAfm on April 4. There was no such statement anywhere in the report, nor was it made by the Health Minister on the day it was released. Also, Coovadia is not a government spokesperson.

The message from the Minister of Health was clear and unambiguous: "Pending the outcome of further research, the debates of the panel have not provided grounds for the government to depart from its current approach to HIV/AIDS problem", she said.

This is the crux of the government's statement clearly representing what was agreed at the end of the last panel meeting on July 4 2000. The inference for anybody intelligent enough is that research still has to be carried out to falsify or confirm the hypothesis that HIV causes AIDS.

In other words, one could say the proponents of this hypothesis have not proved their case. It is that elementary. The reason the media has failed to report this simplicity is that it is blinded by its own advocacy position from which it refuses to deviate. It has painted itself into a hole from which it is incapable of escaping.

The media consistently promotes HIV/AIDS commentators as sane, highly professional and having the only valid viewpoint. The so-called dissidents are "crass", "discredited", promote "insanity" and are said to be "dangerous, even criminally so" for advising government to halt all HIV testing.

Where is the evidence that anyone has died as a result of not having an HIV test? On the contrary, there are many reports of people testing HIV positive and being stoned, committing suicide, shooting their families and themselves and being thrown out to survive in sugarcane fields, among millions of people stigmatised as a result of testing positive for HIV.

It is monstrous that the media has trivialised the section of the interim report dealing with HIV testing. Once again, the report is unambiguous - no evidence has been offered to prove that HIV tests can measure HIV infection. It is not insane and dangerous to advise government to halt all HIV testing. It is erring on the side of caution and in the best interest of patients to do so, pending the outcome of further research.


The media owes it to its audiences to produce the overwhelming evidence to which it continually refers, especially the evidence that anti-retrovirals confer better quality of life on HIV-positive patients, than on those who are HIV-positive and not taking anti-retrovirals. The media must also demonstrate that, apart from quality of life, longevity is also improved.

At the February 2001 eighth Congress on Retroviruses in Chicago, anti-retroviral treatment was admitted as being so poorly understood that it led to a complete U-tum from the "hit hard, hit early" approach to "delay for as long as possible until symptoms develop".

The dissidents are being blamed for stalling progress in HIV/AIDS research, but it is the orthodox refusal to move from their position that is the real cause of slow progress. In light of the interim report and the upcoming experiments, the media must stop supporting this unproven hypothesis and start reporting accurately and objectively on this tragic episode in mankind's history. "


As you can see this is a pretty complex topic and I advise against taking sides until you do a very thorough research on the science behind the HIV/AIDS theory.

rasmussenanders said...

Thank you for the comment Sadunkal,
My knowledge of HIV is rather superficial, though I have taken a few biology courses where the topic has come up.

I can say that I would bet my arm and my leg on the hypothesis that HIV causes AIDS. It is pretty much proven, or how would you explain that. In America, those tested positive on an HIV test are 1000 times more likely to develop AIDS than those who are tested negative.

There are more similar statistics on this page:

sadunkal said...

Right now I'm a little too busy to answer all potential questions. But to find the answer to your question you have to question what "AIDS" really is and what the "HIV tests" really test for. Perhaps you can start by watching related documentaries if you're seriously interested in learning more:

AIDS wiki - Film/Video

This one is more up to date and comprehensive than others I guess:

AIDS In.c Trailer

Clarisse said...

If their leaders are corrupt enough to want to keep the money for AIDS testing and support, then maybe that is why they are dallying on this program. I don't see other reasons why a compassionate human being would prevent health aids to come to their people.

Simple HIV Testing