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Rants, Raves, Interesting Science & Awful Puns
May 29, 2002

AIDS In Africa

Two Different Worlds

Comparing the story of African AIDS that "everyone knows" from the accounts being put out by the media with the things I'm told by people I know who are actually involved there, you wouldn't think we were talking about events on the same planet. After corresponding for several years, I finally met Anthony Brink, a High Court litigation attorney from the South African Bar in Pietermaritzburg, currently doing a tour as senior criminal court judge, when he visited Ireland. Brink is in the forefront of moves to bring lawsuits against manufacturers of pharmaceuticals billed as antiviral, on the grounds of their being misrepresented, lethally toxic, and of no proven benefit. We've all read the moralizing and accusations over President Thabo Mbeki's resistance to giving these drugs to pregnant women and babies inferred as being infected with HIV. For an insider's account of what's going on, see Brink's very readable, detailed, and solidly referenced 4-part series "The Trouble with Nevirapine."

An early manuscript of Brink's Debating AZT decided the South African Health Minister against making the drug AZT available to pregnant women and moved the president to order an enquiry into its safety. The book can be ordered directly from the author at arbrink@iafrica.com or read free on the Internet at www.debating-azt.co.za and at several other websites. Brink's new book, Just say yes, Mr President: Mbeki and AIDS, is currently in preparation for publication.

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