South African President Jacob “Bring Me My Machine Gun” Zuma has become an unlikely supporter of HIV care in his country, announcing Tuesday—World AIDS Day—new, expanded health care measures to be implemented for HIV-positive mothers and their babies. —KA
AP via Google News:
Zuma compared the fight against HIV, which infects one in 10 South Africans, to the decades-long struggle his party led against the apartheid government, which ended in 1994 with the election of Nelson Mandela in the country’s first multiracial vote.
“At another moment in our history, in another context, the liberation movement observed that the time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices: submit or fight,” Zuma said. “That time has now come in our struggle to overcome AIDS. Let us declare now, as we declared then, that we shall not submit.”
Zuma was greeted with a standing ovation when he entered a Pretoria exhibition hall filled with several thousand people.
In some ways, Zuma is an unlikely AIDS hero. As his Zulu tradition allows, he has three wives — experts say having multiple, concurrent partners heightens the risk of AIDS. And in 2006, while being tried on charges of raping an HIV-positive family friend, he testified he took a shower after extramarital sex to lower the risk of AIDS. He was acquitted of rape.