AIDS conference returns to a changed South Africa

By Pete Vernon JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The South Africa that hosts a global AIDS Conference next week has come a long way from the “AIDS pariah” that did so 16 years ago, when then President Thabo Mbeki stunningly dismissed the link between HIV and the disease. At the epicenter of the worldwide AIDS pandemic, South Africa now boasts the largest treatment program in the world, with 3.4 million people receiving the antiretroviral (ARV) drugs that allow those living with HIV to lead normal lives. During his presidency, Mbeki embraced a fringe movement of HIV deniers and resisted international and domestic pressure to seriously address the AIDS crisis.
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