By Peris S. Jones (auth.)
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Additional info for AIDS Treatment and Human Rights in Context
Key leading political figures have certainly legitimized denialist debate. Credibility has been lent to popular forms of AIDS denial and to undermine established scientific “truths” concerning the epidemic. An intriguing issue is to what extent this denialist discourse has influenced public knowledge and attitudes for the majority of South Africans not exposed to scientific debate (Robins 2004). Another is how it has been lent to the promotion not only of alternative treatments but also traditional practices.
In talking about traditional medication, for example, Tshabalala-Msimang says that it has “been used by our people long before the advent . . of other forms of medicine. And our people still use traditional medicine even today . . ”17 While patently accurate to describe the widespread use and appeal of traditional medication in contemporary South Africa, as underscored in the above statements by Zuma and the Complainant in his rape trial (and see especially Chapter 6), the phrasing “long before the advent of other forms of medicine”—such as ARVs—is very revealing.
However, it is also shown how this community reflects a large degree of confusion over such alternatives to ARVs. Some practices place vulnerable groups, such as children, at particularly high levels of risk. Many patients also choose to mix both types of medications. In particular, many of these alternatives are now driven by business motives that exploit vulnerable people living with AIDS. Nonetheless, for all the dilemmas, the rationale for why people take traditional and alternative medication is clear and the benefits are explored in the remainder of the chapter.
AIDS Treatment and Human Rights in Context by Peris S. Jones (auth.)