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SOUTH AFRICA: Health ministry rejects AIDS fallout with UN


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


JOHANNESBURG, 26 October (PLUSNEWS) - South Africa's health department has issued a statement countering claims of an "extraordinary breach" between the government and the UN's special envoy to Africa on AIDS.

A recent New York Times article noted criticism of the South African government's "bewildering" policies and "lackadaisical approach" to providing anti-AIDS treatment by the UN special envoy, Stephen Lewis.

The article based on the book "Race Against Time" by Lewis, also claimed the special envoy had been "banned" from South Africa after an argument with health minister Manto Tshabalala-Mmsimang.

When Lewis followed up on an invitation to visit the country, Tshabalala-Mmsimang reportedly replied that he "could not come to South Africa until (he) had apologised".

The health ministry commented in a statement that the "opinions expressed in this book do not reflect the views of the UN on the South African AIDS programme", and quoted UN reports commending South Africa's anti-AIDS effort, with statistics illustrating the success of its programmes.

It also affirmed South Africa's commitment "to continue working together with various UN agencies in a global response to HIV and AIDS".

[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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