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Sunday 26 February 2006
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SOUTH AFRICA: AIDS played down in president's speech


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


JOHANNESBURG, 8 February (PLUSNEWS) - Opposition political parties have questioned South African President Thabo Mbeki's fleeting reference to HIV/AIDS in his recent State of the Nation address.

Among others, the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) charged that by mentioning AIDS only once the president had failed to treat the pandemic as a national priority.

The South African Press Association quoted ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe as saying, "Government has to urgently do something to prevent predictions that 5.8 million South Africans will be infected [with] the HI virus by 2010 [from coming true]."

During his address the President sought to defuse criticism of his government's AIDS policy by saying more than 100,000 people were getting free drugs in one of the world's biggest public health programmes. An estimated 500,000 people are still in need of treatment.

[ENDS]

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Links
· AIDS Media Center
· The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
· International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
· AEGIS
· International HIV/AIDS Alliance


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