Former Zambian President Vows to Break ‘Wall of Silence’ Surrounding AIDS
The "deafening wall of silence" surrounding HIV/AIDS must be "broken," former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda said yesterday at a session of the Africa Forum 2000 at World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. Kaunda added that an "unnecessary stigma prevents testing, and discussing AIDS openly in Africa is not acceptable in many places, in fact, it's taboo. If we don't break this dangerous wall, it will destroy Africa." Kaunda pointed out that in much of Africa, HIV/AIDS remains "a disease of shame," the result of "misbehavior." However, he believes that the attitude that "wants to sweep conversation and acknowledgement of [HIV/AIDS] under the rug is changing," and he vowed to "press the issue." Kuanda became active in the fight against HIV/AIDS following the 1986 loss of his son to the disease. Three months ago, he organized the Children of Africa Foundation to campaign against the epidemic, and the organization is currently registered in several African nations, Ireland and the United States. Kaunda hopes his influence might persuade African leaders to "speak out more often and forcefully on AIDS" (Cobb, AllAfrica.com, 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.