News of the WeekSouth Africa

AIDS Researchers Decry Mbeki's Views on HIV

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Science  28 Apr 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5466, pp. 590-591
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5466.590

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In South Africa, one of the countries hardest hit by AIDS in the world, President Thabo Mbeki has acknowledged that his country has an AIDS epidemic, but he has questioned whether HIV is to blame. Not only is Mbeki publicly flirting with scientifically discredited ideas about the cause of AIDS, but a leading skeptic of HIV's role in the disease has been invited to serve on a panel to discuss how South Africa should deal with the crisis. These moves are drawing international attention--and increasingly sharp attacks from AIDS researchers inside and outside South Africa, where the virus has infected one out of every 10 adults.