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Wrong on AIDS

The week's news at a glance.

Johannesburg

A top U.N. official has written a book criticizing South Africa for spreading lies about HIV and for failing to treat AIDS patients. Stephen Lewis, the envoy to Africa for AIDS issues, writes in Race Against Time that South Africa is “lagging unconscionably” in treatment of its 6.3 million HIV-positive citizens. Only about 78,000 are receiving anti-retrovirals from the government. South African President Thabo Mbeki has said he doesn’t believe that HIV causes AIDS, while Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said that eating sweet potatoes and garlic is more effective for AIDS sufferers than taking anti-retroviral drugs. Lewis wrote that “every senior U.N. official” he has talked to is “completely bewildered by the policies of President Mbeki.”

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