Feature

Naming AIDS

The week's news at a glance.

Johannesburg

The government has charged a doctor with "unprofessional conduct" for listing AIDS on a death certificate, against the wishes of the victim's family. AIDS is such a stigma in much of Africa that death certificates of AIDS victims typically name related diseases, such as tuberculosis or pneumonia. But medical groups have been pushing to increase public awareness of the disease, and the case against Dr. Leon Wagner could be a major test of the movement to bring AIDS into the open. "If it is found that doctors may indicate AIDS as the real cause of death on certificates," said a spokesman for Wagner's medical association, "it would have tremendous consequences for the statistical documentation of this pandemic." An estimated 5.5 million South Africans are HIV positive.

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