Sanac advises against ‘irrelevant debate’ on Mbeki’s HIV/Aids stance
The South African National AIDS Council (Sanac) on Tuesday said it “advises the nation against a debate that will take us back to a fractious past and can only serve as a distraction”.
That’s how the council’s CEO‚ Dr Fareed Abdullah‚ responded to being “inundated with requests from the media to respond to the letter from former President Thabo Mbeki”.
Mbeki wrote that his much-ridiculed stance‚ in which he posited that HIV did not cause Aids‚ poses valid questions that have not been answered.
"Thirteen years later‚ today‚ I would stand by everything said in this excerpt and still ask that the questions posed should be answered by those who have the scientific capacity to do so!‚" he wrote in his weekly public letter.
On Tuesday‚ Abdullah said: “Our advice is to focus on the challenges that we have and we do not want to be distracted by irrelevant debate.”
“South Africa has the largest antiretroviral treatment programme in the world. This is something we should all be proud of as a nation.
“We also have one of the most effective programmes to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child during pregnancy‚ childbirth and the breast feeding period. This is due to the rollout of the antiretroviral treatment programme.”
Abdullah said the focus should be on to continuing the “collaboration on…programmes between government departments‚ civil society and donors through the structures of Sanac at national‚ provincial and local level”.
He also pointed to the International AIDS Conference‚ which “will return to Durban after 16 years”.
“We call on all South Africans involved in the work to control HIV and TB to unite around our common achievements and to recommit to the new and on-going challenges that we face. These are the only issues to discuss.”