South Africa’s National Press Club Names Achmat, TAC 2003 ‘Newsmakers of the Year’
South Africa's National Press Club on Tuesday named South African HIV/AIDS advocate Zackie Achmat and the Treatment Action Campaign its 2003 "Newsmakers of the Year," Reuters/AlertNet reports (Reuters/AlertNet, 1/13). Achmat five years ago co-founded TAC, the country's largest AIDS treatment advocacy group, and pressed the South African government to provide antiretroviral drugs to the public by refusing to take antiretroviral drugs from 1998 until August 30, 2003, when the South African government pledged to announce a plan to provide universal access to the drugs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/24/03). According to the National Press Club, Achmat and TAC presented legal and moral arguments to help persuade the government to provide antiretroviral therapy to people living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. "This victory raised hope for millions of AIDS sufferers to finally gain access to drugs that could prolong their lives," the National Press Club said in a statement. Achmat and TAC have also been nominated for the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, and Achmat was named one of 35 "heroes of 2003" by Time magazine, Reuters/AlertNet reports (Reuters/AlertNet, 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.