SOUTH AFRICA: Mbeki Withdraws from Public HIV-AIDS Debate
South African President Thabo Mbeki Sunday announced to the national executive committee of the African National Congress that he would no longer participate in the ongoing debate over the link between HIV and AIDS, Agence France-Presse reports. Still refusing to back down from his stance that HIV does not cause AIDS, Mbeki restated his position that other factors, including poverty and malnutrition, could be responsible for the HIV-AIDS link. The South African president three weeks ago admitted to parliament that his insistence that "a virus cannot cause a syndrome" had "created confusion" among South Africans. Critics say that Mbeki's comments, including a suggestion that the CIA and pharmaceutical companies are "pushing the notion that HIV causes AIDS" to increase drug sales, have caused people to "reject conventional wisdom on preventing HIV infection" (Agence France-Presse, 10/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.