Mortal Combat: AIDS Denialism and the Struggle for Antiretrovirals in South Africa

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Mortal Combat is a history of AIDS policy in South Africa. The book exposes the strategy and tactics of AIDS denialists and focuses on the struggle for antiretrovirals to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV and to extend the lives of people living with AIDS. *** "AIDS denialism has resulted in the deaths of at least hundreds of thousands of people. Nattrass's book provides an important service to the world and will save lives." - Mark Wainberg, Director of the McGill U. AIDS Centre, past President of the International AIDS Society, and co-chair of the Toronto 2006 AIDS Conference
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781869141325
  • Publisher: University of Kwazulu-Natal Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2007
  • Pages: 269
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword by Zackie Achmat viii

Acknowledgements x

Abbreviations xi

Chapter 1 Ideas Matter 1

Origins 2

Key themes 10

Chapter 2 AIDS Science and the Problem of AIDS Denialism 15

The science of HIV and ARV treatment 18

AIDS denialism 22

The Mbeki connection 33

Chapter 3 AIDS Policy prior to the Mbeki Presidency 38

AIDS policy during the transition to democracy 39

AIDS policy during the Mandela presidency 40

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) 45

Mbeki's early contacts with AIDS denialists 47

Ambiguities of AIDS policy during the Mandela presidency 50

Chapter 4 Mbeki's Questioning of AIDS Science 54

Opposing AIDS science 55

Growing opposition to Mbeki's stance 67

Governance and AIDS: TAC takes on the pharmaceutical companies 78

Some reflections on Mbeki's stance on AIDS 80

Chapter 5 The Fight for Antiretrovirals: 2001-2003 91

Cause-of-death statistics 92

Legal action over MTCTP 95

Growing political resistance to Mbeki and the Health Minister 100

TAC continues the struggle for lower drug prices 104

Civil disobedience 108

The cabinet revolt 118

When ARVs are rejected, what then? 120

Chapter 6 Rolling out HAART: 2004-2006 128

HAART coverage in South Africa 131

The rollout of HAART in the public sector 133

Budgeting for the public-sector rollout 134

Have there been 'sufficient' public-sector resources for the rollout? 135

Achievements and missed opportunities during the Mbeki presidency: Costs and benefits paid in human lives 136

Continuing pressure 138

Chapter 7 Treatment Anarchy 142

The confusing discourse of 'choice' 143

Support for purveyors of scientifically untested alternatives to ARVs147

Undermining the scientific regulation of medicine 155

Of culture and neutrality 164

TAC treatment literacy 166

Chapter 8 The Last Front: Defending the Scientific Regulation of Medicine 169

The political context: Challenges to Mbeki's authority 169

The Madlala-Routledge factor 172

Mobilising international opinion 174

Where to now? 180

Appendix 1 AIDS Policy Timeline 185

Appendix 2 Letter to Mbeki from HIV Scientists 197

Notes 204

References 233

Index 252

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