AIDS Dissident Roberto Giraldo Will Not Be Ministerial Adviser To Government, South African Official Says
South African Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, speaking on public radio on Monday, said that Roberto Giraldo, who denies that HIV causes AIDS, will not be appointed as a ministerial adviser but is simply being consulted by the government for his advice on nutrition and HIV/AIDS, the South African Press Association reports (South African Press Association, 3/10). Tshabalala-Msimang's decision last week to appoint Giraldo as an adviser was "roundly condemned" by politicians, AIDS advocates and the head of the South African Medical Association (Kahn, Business Day, 3/10). Opposition party members and AIDS advocates have renewed their calls for Tshabalala-Msimang to resign from her position (South African Press Association, 3/10). The South African treatment advocacy group Treatment Action Campaign plans to launch a "campaign of civil disobedience" on Human Rights Day, March 21, to oppose the government's work with Giraldo, according to Business Day. "Instead of working to develop a national prevention and treatment plan, [Tshabalala-Msimang] is making it clear she supports HIV denialism, and is therefore making civil disobedience unavoidable," TAC Chair Zackie Achmat said (Business Day, 3/10). Tshabalala-Msimang said that she is not interested in Giraldo's view that AIDS is caused by nutritional deficiencies instead of HIV. "I'm not interested [in Giraldo's view]. I think we're past that stage. Our own strategic plan is based on the premise that HIV causes AIDS," she said (South African Press Association, 3/10). Giraldo also believes that antiretroviral drugs cause, rather than slow, the progression to AIDS (Business Day, 3/10). Tshabalala-Msimang said that Giraldo's role would be limited to offering nutritional advice. "He's an adviser in that context, but just interacts with our own team which is trying to improve on guidelines," Tshabalala-Msimang said (South African Press Association, 3/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.