AIDS Treatment and Human Rights in Context by Peris S. Jones (auth.)

By Peris S. Jones (auth.)

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Critically, for South Africa, AIDS has also sharpened the issue of the nature and style of how a country should be governed. ” For Thabo Mbeki, who presided over the most fraught and fragmented period of AIDS policy responses, the image of African Renaissance was a laudable developmental and psychological initiative to return self-respect back to Africa. The problem is that as important and well intended as this initiative undoubtedly was, the African Renaissance crashed into the juggernaut of the AIDS epidemic.

But in a cruel chronological twist of fate, South Africa was only just beginning to emerge from racial oppression at the same time as the epidemic began to snowball. This meant that such racialized interpretations of AIDS were only becoming more amplified. Of course, this did not have to be the case. Other paths existed, ones that sought instead to affirm active citizenship and democratization of scientific knowledge (see “Contestations and Court Cases” section of this chapter) in the context of AIDS (Robins 2005).

16 36 O AIDS Treatment and Human Rights in Context South Africa has, for ten years, been acquainted with key leaders who have been skeptical of ARVs. When she was health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, in particular, stated on many occasions that the African potato, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic, on the one hand, and traditional medication on the other, are more appropriate “African alternatives” to ARVs. Her preference has been to focus on the role of such alternatives in boosting the immune system.

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