AIDS Treatment and Human Rights in Context by Peris S. Jones (auth.)

By Peris S. Jones (auth.)

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The inference was that unlike more recent patients, those near death experiences had produced a more zealous and near religious conversion to adherence—a second chance at life and hence was a major contributory factor in high levels of adherence. These are important issues, not least because the focus upon successful medical outcomes belies a central paradox of the treatment era: ARV treatment is an increasing reality for those who could benefit from it. But are those individual and community needs, rights-based approaches to tackle social stigma; political will and social mobilization, which drove the breakthroughs in treatment in the first place, being overridden by biomedical, technical and apolitical “solutions” to the epidemic?

Without any significant challenge from discredited, and small opposition parties, the ANC nonetheless felt it imperative to imprint party loyalty upon its members. The AIDS response reveals that such loyalty has been to the cost of discouraging internal dissent (see “Contestations and Court Cases” section of this chapter). Party loyalty has been paramount, hindering both the capacity and independence of the civil service in South Africa to respond to AIDS (Heywood 2003). Rather than creating an independent civil service that caters to the needs of the population, these ends have been subordinated to serving party loyalty.

A rapidly developing literature is therefore taking stock of different readings of the epidemic itself, over and beyond the more obvious denialist views of prominent leaders in South Africa. Anthropologists and other social scientists have been at the forefront, investigating the role of cultural understandings of health and illness. Alternative explanations of death and illness in a context of AIDS surface social and cultural perceptions of cause rather than biological or physical ones (Posel, Kahn, and Walker 2007).

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