South Africa admits HIV-AIDS link; French to drive children to drink

South Africa’s health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, best known in some circles for telling the international AIDS conference in Toronto that HIV is unrelated to AIDS and that the disease is best treated with a diet of garlic and beetroot, has been removed from AIDS policy work — ironically, while hospitalized. Taking her place are deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, who have promised to start promoting condom use and antiretroviral drug therapy, and who agree with scientific consensus on HIV. About bloody time, now that 11% of the country has the virus, and it’s killed 2 million South Africans. Good grief.

Meanwhile, the French government is planning wine appreciation lessons for primary school children, to encourage “healthy living”, and perhaps reverse their country’s declining per capita annual consumption (down from 100 to 55 litres a person in the past 25 years), thus helping out the industry.

Public health initiatives: it takes all kinds!