Media Coverage Of Mandela’s Death, AIDS Work Continues

Media outlets continue to examine the HIV/AIDS work of Nelson Mandela, who died at the age of 95 on Thursday. “As the world mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela, some observers are recalling the crucial role he played in advocating for science during the highly fraught AIDS crisis in South Africa,” ScienceInsider reports. However, “[d]uring his own presidency, he gave relatively little attention to the rapidly growing epidemic and put Thabo Mbeki [who would succeed him in office and who ‘rejected the scientific consensus and espoused the discredited view that HIV does not cause AIDS,’] in charge of dealing with it,” the news service notes (Benderly, 12/8). Craig Timberg of the Washington Post in a video report “discusses the former South African president’s hesitation to acknowledge the HIV epidemic spreading across Africa, which cost Mandela both politically and personally” (12/6).

IRIN writes, “It was only once he had left office that he grew much more vocal and active in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and his involvement inspired scientists, activists and other political leaders to do more, noted Robert SoudrĂ©,” the chair of the 17th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa, taking place in Cape Town, South Africa, this week (12/9). Mandela “went on to later galvanize governments to declare a global AIDS emergency and pushed for antiretroviral drugs in South Africa, according to Agence France-Presse,” the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog states, adding, “He also supported HIV/AIDS research and support for AIDS orphans through the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund” (Prois, 12/7). Devex summarizes development leaders’ statements on Mandela’s life and work (Igoe, 12/6).

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