South Africa to Treat All HIV-Positive Babies

This is a dramatic shift from the previous presidential administration which distrusted HIV drugs...

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South African President Jacob Zuma doesn't fear HIV drugs for his citizens.

He said as much yesterday when he announced that all South African infants would be treated with HIV drugs in an initiative that will likely expand in a country with the most HIV-positive individuals in the world. From The Washington Post:

"South Africa will treat all HIV-positive babies and expand testing, the president announced Tuesday, a dramatic and eagerly awaited shift in a country that has more people living with HIV than any other.

President Jacob Zuma's speech on World AIDS Day was viewed as a definitive turning point for a nation where the previous administration distrusted drugs developed to keep AIDS patients alive and instead promoted garlic treatments. One Harvard study said that resulted in more than 300,000 premature deaths.

Zuma compared the fight against AIDS to the decades-long struggle against the apartheid government, which ended in 1994 with the election of Nelson Mandela in the country's first multiracial elections.

"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."

Read more on President Zuma's declaration at WashingtonPost.com