Mbeki’s Departure from AIDS Debate May be ‘Too Late’
South African President Thabo Mbeki's decision to "scale back" his prominence in the AIDS debate may have come "too late" to clarify the "confusion about AIDS and its origins," the New York Times reports. Previously, Mbeki publicly expressed his belief that the notion that HIV causes AIDS is only a "thesis." This, in turn, caused the press and American officials to "question his judgement" and ability to lead. One commentator writing in the South African newspaper The Sowetan asked, "Is Mbeki Fit to Govern?" Political analysts say Mbeki "had no choice" to change, as his approval ratings have dropped and his statements "garnered major attention" on local and international levels. In addition, his viewpoints were troubling to "skittish investors." But now that the government has announced Mbeki will tone down his public skepticism, the press has been more supportive of Mbeki. For example, the Sunday Times of Johannesburg commented that the president "has done what South Africans have been pleading with him to do for months" (Swarns, New York Times, 11/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.