Mbeki Questions Need for HIV Testing
South African President Thabo Mbeki on Tuesday "reignited" the debate on the causal link between HIV and AIDS, saying in a "rare" television appearance that he would not publicly take an HIV test because "it would send a message that he supported a particular scientific viewpoint," the AP/Arizona Republic reports. "I go and do a test -- I am confirming a particular paradigm," he said. Mbeki also questioned the safety of antiretroviral drugs and "rejected" calls for the government to provide the drugs to HIV-positive citizens. "I think it would be criminal if our government did not deal with the toxicity of these drugs. Let's stop politicizing this question, let's deal with the science of it," he added. Mbeki's views previously stirred controversy when he questioned the link between HIV infection and the development of AIDS. Mbeki later "withdrew" from the public debate, and the government declared that its official position was that HIV was the cause of AIDS. Some AIDS activists say that Mbeki's views on HIV/AIDS have caused confusion among HIV prevention workers in the country, which is estimated to have 4.7 million HIV-positive citizens (AP/Arizona Republic, 4/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.