Beetroot for AIDS: Fighting denialism in Mbeki’s South Africa

While protesters took to the streets (above) during Thabo Mbeki’s presidency, Glenda Gray (in green, below) cared for mothers with HIV and their babies

Anna Zieminski/Getty

THE 1990s brought democracy to South Africa – but also an explosion in HIV infections. More than 1.5 million of my country’s 38-million population were infected with HIV when apartheid ended and Nelson Mandela came to power in 1994. By 2000, 1 in 5 pregnant women were HIV-positive, with about 70,000 infected babies born each year.

Under Mandela, I had been on the side of the government. I was drafting South Africa’s plan to

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