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2006: Global AIDS Conference Debacle

At the 16th Global AIDS Conference held in Toronto, the South African Department of Health store consisted of a display of garlic, lemons and beetroot, with two bottles of antiretrovirals hastily added after complaints. The TAC delegation at the conference physically attacked and disassembled the stall and criticised the Minister, who at later news conferences reiterated her controversial position that good nutrition can be an alternative to ARVs.

This earned the South African government widespread criticism from all areas, including the UN secretary general’s Special Envoy on AIDS in Africa who attacked the government for its mismanagement of the pandemic at the closing ceremony.

Said the Minister: "I don't know how many [South Africans] with HIV would want to take anti-retrovirals." Her position on the effectiveness of vegetables was mocked by political cartoonist Zapiro and can be found here.

Wits Journalism Anova Health

The project is jointly managed by the Anova Health Institute and the Journalism and Media Studies Programme at the University of the Witwatersrand. The project is funded by by the Health Communication Partnership based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Centre for Communication Programmes and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS relief through the United States Agency for International Development under terms of Award No. JH/HESA-02-05 and through the Anova Health Institute through PEPFAR via USAID under Award No. AID-674-A-12-00015.