Returning to New York last week for the review of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/Aids was gratifying. The Comprehensive Review and High-Level Meeting reflected how far the world has come to accept what President Thabo Mbeki sought to highlight as early as 2000.Anyway, a good friend (;-)) of this blog has submitted a letter to the M&G in reply, and a strongly-worded one at that. We don't know whether it's going to be published, but you read it here first.
He said that we could not blame the challenge of HIV/Aids only on the virus, and should have a collection of interventions that addresses the correlation between the agent, the host and the environment.
We do not need political grandstanding to demonstrate our commitment and leadership. A sustained increase in resource allocation, and implementation of programmes that make a difference to the lives of the people on the ground, is what matters most to the government.
I was amazed to read the minister of health's self-congratulatory piece of amnesic trash in the Letters section of 9 June ("We were right all along"). The gist of her drivel is that our head-of-state-cum-medical-officianado, Thabo Mbeki, was right in questioning the HIV-AIDS link six years ago. More accurately, the minister states that "[Mbeki] said that we could not blame the challenge of HIV/AIDS only on the virus...". In fact, minister, your government's selective science and counter-intellectual stance on AIDS has now reached new levels - no one has EVER doubted the link between AIDS and its surrounding socio-political environment. What the president did six years ago was to question the very link between HIV and AIDS. Don't you remember loose statements such as "a virus can't cause a syndrome" and other nonsense such as that? Don't justify past moronic behaviour now by attempting to change history. We won't fall for that either. If you can't be more constructive than cultivate and perpetuate a "told you so" narrative, get out of the way of people who actually want to implement good policies. Don't you think it's time for you to shut up and salvage what little credibility you might have left?Eina! I might add, this is not some armchair-critic and this is why. Vat hulle, Pietsie!Dr Pieter Fourie
PS I'm posting this from the house of the good Dr (you decide which one) - and I think I have permission to do so ;-)