The Desmond Tutu Health Foundation (DTHF) would like to add our voice to the growing number of organisations that have raised concern regarding the erroneous statements made by former President Thabo Mbeki on the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the cause of Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
In the era that has become known as a time of denial, not only did these views and lack of leadership cause confusion and dissent, but they also resulted more importantly in many thousands of young lives being lost.
His comments jeopardise the wellbeing and future of the 8 million people living with HIV in South Africa and the health professionals, scientists, NGOs, and civil society that work tirelessly to ensure that the public has access to life-saving treatment and prevention.
The former President is still seen as an opinion leader in South Africa; and we still have one of the largest HV epidemics in the world. Ensuring that factual information is disseminated about HIV, AIDS and antiretroviral therapy and prevention remains critical to the country’s effective response.
Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, CEO of the DTHF, a foundation that had continuously advocated for the most effective treatment and prevention for all (with no one left behind) says it is very disappointing that after 20 years, Mbeki maintains his denial of what is mainstream, proven thinking.
“We ask that former President Mbeki desist from sharing his denialist views in public. These are statements that have potentially life-threatening implications for millions of people.”
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