New York Times Opinion Piece Profiles Treatment Action Campaign Chair Zackie Achmat
In a New York Times opinion piece today, Tina Rosenberg profiles Treatment Action Campaign Chair Zackie Achmat, who is HIV-positive but refuses to take antiretroviral drugs until the South African government makes the drugs available to everyone through the public health system. South Africa "should be engaged in a national mobilization to stave off Armageddon," but the government "is a long way from mounting the energetic assault on AIDS that is possible and necessary in South Africa," Rosenberg says, adding that the South African government "is being dragged into saving its people" by the TAC, which is "the largest and most effective AIDS group in the third world." Because Achmat and the TAC sued the government to provide HIV-positive mothers with nevirapine, a drug to help prevent vertical transmission, South Africa has "the world's largest program to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV," Rosenberg says. "The campaign is fighting an evil even more formidable and deadly than apartheid, and one that, absent universal access to AIDS treatment, is just as selective in bringing most of the suffering down upon South Africa's poor," Rosenberg concludes (Rosenberg, New York Times, 1/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.