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Achieving AccessProfessional Movements and the Politics of Health Universalism$
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Joseph Harris

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501709968

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501709968.001.0001

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South Africa: Contesting the Luxury of Aids Dissidence

South Africa: Contesting the Luxury of Aids Dissidence

(p.170) 7 South Africa: Contesting the Luxury of Aids Dissidence
Achieving Access

Joseph Harris

Cornell University Press

Although South Africa has the largest AIDS treatment program in the world, the ANC’s mishandling of the epidemic post-apartheid nevertheless contributed significantly to the spread of the disease. Unlike in Thailand or Brazil – where in many instances professional movements partnered with the state to respond to citizen needs and expand access to antiretroviral therapy – legal movements in South Africa however confronted a remarkably different dynamic: an intransigent government that, by virtue of unrivaled electoral majority, enjoyed the luxury of entertaining dissident AIDS science and experimenting with charlatan AIDS policy. While the strategic actions of the AIDS Law Project and the Treatment Action Campaign would eventually compel government action, initial government intransigence and the long and drawn-out nature of the legal process would prove to have horrific consequences, measured in hundreds of thousands of lost lives.

Keywords:   South Africa, HIV/AIDS, AIDS Law Project, Treatment Action Campaign, antiretroviral medication, dissident science, law, Thabo Mbeki, Mark Heywood, Zackie Achmat

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