South African Acknowledgement of HIV-AIDS Link ‘Long Overdue,’ Editorial Says
"The decision of the South African government to acknowledge the viral origin of AIDS is long overdue," a Boston Globe editorial states, noting that the causal link between HIV and AIDS is "widely accepted around the world and was the essential insight" that led to the development of the antiretroviral drugs that are "keeping thousands of people alive and active" in the developed world. South African President Thabo Mbeki has publicly questioned the link in the past but has now directed the government to operate in the assumption that HIV causes AIDS and has distanced himself from "AIDS dissidents," a sign that he is "finally getting the message," the Globe says. Mbeki's acceptance "comes at an opportune time," according to the editorial, which notes that drug regimens are being simplified and more financial assistance is being offered from drug companies and richer nations. "South Africa, with its extensive medical infrastructure, ought to be the jumping-off point for the use of [antiretroviral] drugs in poorer nations, but it has been held back because the government has been slow to accept the urgency of the epidemic." Last week's turnaround should help government officials take the steps they need to "make their country the world leader in treating a disease that is ravaging the population," the Globe concludes (Boston Globe, 4/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.