AIDS In Africa — The Nightmare Is Real

AIDS In Africa — The Nightmare Is Real

Last November, Rolling Stone published Rian Malan’s
article ‘AIDS in Africa,’ a piece questioning the statistics for
AIDS-related deaths in South Africa. A reporter for the
Pacific News Service goes out to refute the RS
article and prove that ‘the epidemic of AIDS in Africa is real and
urgent.’

Only a few weeks ago, former South African President Nelson Mandela
declared war on the widespread disease. However, writes Donal Brown
in his PNS article, ‘the last word on AIDS that thousands of
Americans may have read — a lengthy article by an esteemed South
African writer in Rolling Stone magazine — cast grave doubt on the
extent of the scourge.’

Picking apart Malan’s RS article, Brown challenges Malan for
counting the number of caskets. To gauge the rate of death
increase, Malan asked various local coffin-makers about their
business. None of them noted any increase in sales. Brown points
out that in poorer areas many people would build their own, rather
than purchase one.

Brown also talks with South African Dr. Jimmy Volmink, director of
the Research and Analysis Department at the Global Health Council,
and Dr. Neff Walker, senior advisor for estimates and projections
for UNAIDS, a United Nations agency, both of whom support his
argument. ‘Maybe,’ writes Brown, ‘Malan should have counted memory
boxes instead.’
–Sara V. Buckwitz
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