Former Zambian President Takes Public HIV Test, Urges Country’s Political Leaders to Do the Same
Former Zambian president and AIDS activist Kenneth Kaunda publicly took an HIV test yesterday and urged all Zambian political leaders to follow suit, Reuters reports. Kaunda, who tested negative for the virus, urged "all Zambians, without exception," to be tested for HIV (Shacinda, Reuters, 3/26). Kaunda was Zambia's first president and one of the few African leaders who "waged an early and public fight" against HIV/AIDS (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/14). He stated that public figures need to lead the fight against HIV and should serve as an example for others by getting tested for the virus. He noted that during last year's presidential election, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa "challenged" other candidates to be tested for HIV by saying that Zambians "needed a healthy head of state in office." Analysts said that Kaunda is calling on Mwanawasa to "follow up [on his] challenge" by getting an HIV test himself. Kaunda currently runs the Kenneth Kaunda Children of Africa Foundation, which provides education for AIDS orphans and care for HIV-positive Zambians (Reuters, 3/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.