I WILL STILL CONTRIBUTE TO DEBATE ON THE DISEASE, SAYS MBEKI
Sapa, AFP 26 Oct. '00
President Thabo Mbeki, who questions the link between HIV and AIDS,
declared yesterday that he was still in the debate. This followed weekend
press reports that he had withdraw from the public debate on the causes of
AIDS after admitting he had created confusion on the issues.
Mbeki told foreign correspondents in Pretoria that his comments to the ANC
"didn't represent a withdrawal". "I continue to be interested in various
questions in regard to this," he said.
Mbeki said that in 1985, two scientific journals had reported that HIV in
Southern Africa was not endemic and was confined to male homosexuals. Five
years later; he said, the disease was reported to be both endemic in the
region and transmitted by heterosexuals.
He shrugged off criticism in the overseas media - quoted by a US reporter -
that his stance on AIDS showed him to be "unhinged", "arrogant" or "off his
rocker", saying: "We all have our critics."