South Africa Will Expand AIDS Fight

In policy shift, country will ramp up testing and drugs for babies
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 1, 2009 11:25 AM CST

(Newser) – South Africa said today it will expand HIV testing and treatment for pregnant women and babies, an eagerly awaited shift in a country that has more people living with HIV than any other. Today's speech by President Jacob Zuma on World AIDS Day was viewed as a turning point for a nation whose previous administration disputed the link between HIV and AIDS and pushed garlic treatments as a cure. One Harvard study said that resulted in more than 300,000 premature deaths.

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Zuma compared the fight against AIDS to the decades-long struggle against apartheid. "At another moment in our history, in another context, the liberation movement observed that the time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices: submit or fight," he said. "That time has now come in our struggle to overcome AIDS. Let us declare now, as we declared then, that we shall not submit." (Read more AIDS stories.)

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