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Jimmy Carter: I nearly punched out South African president over AIDS treatment failures

By Travis Gettys
Monday, November 4, 2013 12:09 EDT
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Former President Jimmy Carter said he nearly punched out South Africa’s president over his refusal to allow treatment of AIDS patients in his country.

“The first time I came here to Cape Town I almost got in a fight with the president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, because he was refusing to let AIDS be treated,” Carter told the Sunday Times.

He said then-health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang was standing with Mbeki at the time.

“That’s the closest I’ve come to getting into a fist fight with a head of state,” Carter said.

Mbeki famously denied the link between HIV and AIDS.

In 1999, he that AZT, the most suitable anti-retroviral drug used at the time, was toxic and refused to make treatment available in spite of a United Nations offer of assistance.

Carter said he and Bill Gates Sr., the philanthropist and father of the Microsoft founder, were trying to convince Mbeki to provide anti-retroviral treatment to pregnant woman with AIDS, but he said the South African leader “was against that.”

 
 
 
 
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