CONTROVERSIAL AIDS FIGURE TO TAKE AZT DEBATE FURTHER
Business Day (South Africa) 11 July 2000
Durban -- AIDS dissident and a member of President Thabo Mbeki's AIDS
advisorypanel, Professor Charles Geshekter, is expected to address
journalists at the 13th International Aids Conference on Tuesday.
Geshekter and other AIDS dissidents are expected to address journalists on
one of the most controversial AIDS statements to have come out of SA,
namely that poverty causes AIDS.
President Thabo Mbeki's support of this view reverberated across the world,
and he was widely condemned for his position to the point that he was
accused of genocide.
Geshekter will be joined by Christine Maggiore, an HIV-positive mother who
refused to take treatment. She is adamant that this saved her life.
Another speaker, Lynn Gannett, is a data manager for the controversial
anti-retroviral AZT Phase III trials.
She said that she witnessed gross irregularities in the tests. The group
also maintains that AZT is one of the problems, not the solution.
Mbeki's government faced criticism over its decision not to give AZT to
pregnant women dependent on the public health system before its effects
About 5 000 HIV-positive babies are born in SA each month, a tragedy many
feel can be averted by making AZT available to these women and by giving
them a choice on whether or not to use the drug.
The debate will take place amid testimony by eminent researchers who are
presenting findings at the conference over the positive results achieved