Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- A group of Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) activists has vandalised the South African exhibition at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto, which displayed vegetables, anti-retroviral drugs and condoms.
This occurred Wednesday after Health Minister Manto Tshabalala- Msimang used the event to promote her vegetable remedies, one media report said here Thursday.
The Minister opened the Khomanani display at the International AIDS Conference, and when the absence of anti-retrovirals (ARVs) was queried, the Minister replied that people have a right to choose to use traditional medicine as opposed to scientifically validated medicine.
Tshabalala-Msimang has reacted by slamming the media for 'distortion' in reporting on South Africa's exhibition at the conference.
She said she had never attended an AIDS conference where South Africa had not been attacked.
Meanwhile, TAC chairperson Zackie Achmat has requested that homicide charges be instituted against Tshabalala-Msimang following the death of a prisoner of AIDS.
The prisoner, who was being held at the Westville Correctional Centre in Durban, died earlier this month.
Achmat said there was sound evidence that prison officials were aware that the patient needed ARV drugs.
At the Westville Correctional Centre, an average of two inmates have died every week of AIDS-related illnesses in the last year.
As a result, prisoners contacted the TAC and the AIDS Law Project for help.
After five months of negotiations failed, 15 inmates and the TAC brought an application to the Durban High Court for the government to provide ARV therapy in line with its own policy.
But Achmat claims the South African government was now consciously and deliberately allowing inmates with HIV/AIDS at Westville Correctional Services to suffer fear, anxiety, illness and potential death by refusing to obey an interim Court order of the Durban High Court to provide the necessary therapy to prisoners who need it.
In July, Judge Pillay of the Durban High Court ordered that, while the government was allowed to appeal the earlier judgement in favour of the prisoners and the TAC, it must in the interim execute the order made in that judgement.