Key Points:

  • CDE held its 13th debate on 30 May 2000. The participants debated the stance the government had taken in dealing with the HIV/Aids crisis, while in response the minister of health underlined the importance of socio-economic factors and individual choice in matters of disease and treatment.
  • The speakers were Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, minister of health; Prof Hoosen Coovadia, head of the department of paediatrics at the University of Natal; and Dr Anthony Kinghorn, senior manager of Abt Associates South Africa Inc.
  • The debate was chaired by Barbara Masakela, former South African ambassador to France.
  • Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang opened the debate by saying that the government had an important responsibility in respect of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but this was not and could never be the responsibility of government alone.
  • Unless every citizen took responsibility for his or her sexual behaviour, the virus would continue to spread no matter what the government did. Ultimately, all citizens had to ask themselves what they were doing, as individuals and in the institutions in which they were active, to stem the epidemic
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Photo credit: Vittore Buzzi