THE SPINE FEBRUARY 10, 2008
About 12% or 5.4 million people of South Africa's total population is infected with HIV. It is a human disaster, nothing less. The president of the country, Thabo Mbeki, is largely responsible for the rapid transition from HIV to AIDS to its victims and also for the sparsity of serious medical treatment. This is because he is a crackpot on the subject and seems not to believe that HIV causes AIDS at all. His minister of health, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, is also a primitive about medical science. So while AIDS activists in the country try to circumvent the obstacles real prevention and real care, the government stubbornly abides by its ignorance.The Associated Press reported on Friday that the health minister had questioned the results of several medical studies that conclude that circumcision is effective AIDS in men. She has, thus, put herself and her ignorance against even a United Nations scientific commission that concludes circumcision can reduce the risk of contracting the virus by up to 60 percent.Of course, this hype for circumcision might just be a Jewish trick of the rabbis.