Nelson Mandela Announces New Partnership With MSF To Establish HIV/AIDS Treatment Center
Former South African President Nelson Mandela, wearing a T-shirt that said "HIV-positive," announced yesterday that his foundation and Medecins Sans Frontieres will establish a new HIV/AIDS treatment project near Umtata, South Africa, SAPA/AllAfrica.com reports. The announcement coincided with a visit by Mandela to an HIV/AIDS charity clinic run by the Treatment Action Campaign outside of Cape Town, South Africa. Mandela said of the charity clinic, "If you here can start this project on your own without funds, all of us throughout the country can do so." He added that he would "see what he could do to assist the facility financially," SAPA/AllAfrica.com reports (SAPA/AllAfrica.com, 12/12). During his speech at the clinic, Mandela "declared war" on HIV/AIDS and "spoke freely" about sex, AP/USA Today reports. Mandela urged people to practice safe sex, remain faithful to their partners or abstain completely. Mandela also said that HIV-positive people should be accepted, adding, "HIV is like any other disease. We must love people who have HIV. To stigmatize people -- you are not acting like human beings" (AP/USA Today, 12/12). Mandela also said he was speaking with South African President Thabo Mbeki about access to antiretroviral drugs. "Apart from the question of lack of funding, because it is very expensive, [the government] is coming around. They are going to do something to show the government cares. We are talking to them. I must say that Thabo Mbeki is a person who loves his people," Mandela said (SAPA/AllAfrica.com, 12/12). "The direct involvement of (former) President Mandela in HIV prevention ... is in many ways more important than his fight against apartheid, because he is fighting to save ... millions of lives," Zackie Achmat, the head of TAC, said (AP/USA Today, 12/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.