AIDS policy is still disastrous, though the President now leaves it to his Health Minister
The blame for South Africa's peculiar policies on HIV/AIDS is shifting from President Thabo Mbeki to his Health Minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, caricatured by local AIDS activists as 'Dr. No' or 'Dr. Do-Little'. Mbeki may have begun backing away from his own controversial stand on the pandemic, as his handlers advise him to keep his 'dissident' views private. The survival of Tshabalala-Msimang, who has come to symbolise the government's catstrophic mishandling of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, is puzzling. A cynical view is that Tshabalala-Msimang, a medical doctor who initially didn't share Mbeki's pathological opposition to anti-retroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS treatment, is a useful lightning conductor for a policy that is despised by most South African voters.
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