WE NEED TO QUESTION THE CAUSE OF WHAT IS CALLED AIDS IN AFRICA
WOZA, 13 July 2000
Winstone Zulu, an HIV-positive, pro-dissident member of President Thabo Mbeki's AIDS advisory panel, has said that the South African scientific community needs to question what causes AIDS in Africa.
After testing HIV-positive in 1990 and being given only six years to live, Zulu remains alive and well without AIDS treatments 10 years later.
Zulu briefly experimented with anti-retroviral treatments in 1997 in response to a bout of tuberculosis. After experiencing severe side effects, he realised that these drugs did not enhance his quality of life, and he has since chosen to decline treatment.
Mr Zulu now publicly questions the use of expensive and highly toxic anti-HIV drugs to treat a weakened immune system. He also questions the belief that the weakened immune system condition called "AIDS" is caused by a single virus called "HIV".
Mr Zulu, the first Zambian to publicly announce his HIV-positive status 10 years ago, has risen to international prominence as a PWA activist.
He was the Lead Rapporteur for the Community Track at the final plenary session of the XII World AIDS Conference in Geneva in 1998. He has been involved in the founding of numerous AIDS service organisations throughout South Africa, and has been invited to speak at many international conferences.
He is the only member of President Thabo Mbeki's AIDS advisory panel who is not a doctor or an academic.
Zulu said, "In looking at my passport, I realise that over the past nine years, I have traveled to 23 countries, doing AIDS-related work. Sometimes I ask myself, in all this time, and in all these conferences, what have we achieved?"
As a member of Mbeki's AIDS panel, Zulu has been encouraged by others to do "what is best for Africa". This, he says, involves a fundamental questioning of the accepted causes of AIDS in Africa.