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Doctors dispute Mbeki’s HIV/Aids comments

Health professionals say no other measure has been as effective in saving lives as Antiretroviral drugs.

FILE. The former president has been roundly criticised for refusing to make the drugs widely available in government hospitals during his term. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - As former President Thabo Mbeki says he was right to be wary of Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, doctors say no other measure has been as effective in saving lives.

Yesterday, Mbeki published what he called a commentary on his Aids policies in which he asked how the disease mutated so quickly.

He claimed some people in the industry had tried to force South Africa to buy ARVs.

The former president has been roundly criticised for refusing to make the drugs widely available in government hospitals during his term.

In his latest newsletter, the former president quotes from a document he helped to write in 2002 called Castro Hlongwane: HIV/Aids and the struggle for the humanisation of the African.

"People were being told to have healthy lifestyles, to abstain from sex, to condomise… to do all of those. But none of those have given us results as promising as the role out of ARVs."

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) has strongly condemned Mbeki's letter saying it's tragic and that hundreds of thousands of lives were lost under his rule.

To read Mbeki's latest newsletter _ click here_.