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The Virus, Vitamins and Vegetables Peers into AIDS Denialism in SA

Resource type: News

Jacana Book Blog |

Health-e News Service is an Atlantic grantee.

Originally posted on March 26th, 2009 by Emily at Jacana Book Blog

Book Summary

Why were so few people able to declare publicly that the Emperor had no clothes? How was it that a health Minister was allowed to tout garlic, olive oil, lemons and beetroot over antiretrovirals? How can we make sure that this never happens again?

This collection of essays by some of South Africa’s foremost HIV/AIDS writers, doctors and activists takes us down the rabbit hole of AIDS denialism. It is a lively reconstruction of one of the most bewildering events of post-apartheid South Africa, when the democratic government questioned the link between HIV and AIDS and disputed the efficacy of antiretroviral drugs. During this period, thousands of people died unnecessarily as their treatment became the subject of intellectual debate by politicians.

The Virus, Vitamins & Vegetables is edited by Kerry Cullinan and Anso Thom of Health-e News Service, a non-profit agency that has been covering HIV/AIDS and health in South Africa for the past ten years.

The Virus, Vitamins and Vegetables is about much more than merely writing up an important part of our history. It is about trying to understand the extent of the calamity that befell us through the mismanagement of AIDS, and how it happened, so as to forewarn us against a repetition.

– Justice Edwin Cameron, Constitutional Court of South Africa judge and recipient of the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights

The book chronicles the tragedy that unfolds when leaders choose to play with people’s lives by ignoring evidence and science and embracing the untested remedies and theories of those on the lunatic fringe. It challenges us to consider our choices and responsibilities in a time of deep crisis. It forces us to ask ourselves, ‘Isn’t there more we should have done to stop the madness?’

– Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, Deputy Speaker of the South African National Assembly and former Deputy Health Minister

Book Details

The Virus, Vitamins and Vegetables: The South African HIV/AIDS Mystery edited by Kerry Cullinan and Anso Thorn
Book homepage
EAN: 9781770096912

Book launch details

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Global Impact:

South Africa