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Deadly misperceptions

This Magazine Staff

According to a Reuters report, Mozambique’s Catholic archbishop Francisco Chimoio has proclaimed that some condoms imported in Europe were deliberately exposed to HIV in order to kill Africans.

Given the history of colonialism between Africa and Europe, suspicion may be understandable, but the religious leader’s assertion is patently absurd, as HIV is known to be unable to live outside the body long enough to survive a manufacturing and distribution process.
Condoms are not 100 percent effective, but when used properly they offer highly successful protection against HIV infection. But ideological warfare has deterred the effort to promote condom use in Africa. Some of this is external exposed: a key example would be programs supported by the U.S.-based PEPFAR program, which specifically denies funding to programs that acknowledge the value of the lives of sex-trade workers.
Other times, the problem is homegrown, such as the South African government, whose leaders—in the midst of one of the world’s largest AIDS crises—have doubted the value of HIV treatments, in favour of treatment with garlic and beetroot.
Specifically in Mozambique, 16 percent of the population of 19 million are positive for HIV, with 500 new infections reported daily. There is little hope for them in terms of treatment, according to Chimoio. “I also know some companies who are manufacturing anti-retroviral drugs already infected with the virus, also in order to finish quickly the African people,” he claimed.

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