Briefing from ROAPE Volume 30 Number 98
South Africa: Dying to Fight
'Avoid Aids, come inside' says the sign outside the sex shop near the Durban beachfront. Just 100 meters away 500 Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) activists, from 110 branches across South Africa, were meeting at the second TAC National Congress to plan how to carry on their fight for the roll out of a comprehensive treatment plan for the 5 million people living with HIV-AIDS. With the highest national HIV prevalence in the world, AIDS is estimated to have caused 40% of all adult deaths in 2001, as many as 1,000 people a day according to UNAIDS (a figure not challenged by the ANC government). Addressing the Congress on the final day, the historic nature of this campaign was underscored by the UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS, Stephen Lewis, who compared TAC with some of the greatest social movements of the twentieth century and the 'anti-globalisation' movement of the twenty-first.