World Aids Day - Zackie Achmat is a modern-day hero
I have known about the efforts of Zackie Achmat for some years. He has been campaigning in his native South Africa for quite a long time to change the policy of the South African government led by Thabo Mbebi with regard to AIDS. As I have written before, President Mbeki has for years refused to accept that HIV is the way-station to AIDS. Mr Achmat's long campaign is widely recognised to have brought about the U-turn in government policy in South Africa, last month. The government has now promised to distribute drugs to all who need them within five years (of course, that will be far too late for many sufferers, but at least it is a step in the right direction). South Africa is estimated to have 5 million people living with HIV or AIDS and with one in nine of the population affected, the highest rate of infection in the world.
This article in today's Telegraph is extremely welcome. It is very difficult to imagine such an article having been written in this newspaper until very recently. Also welcome is the coming into force, today, of legislation in the UK providing employment protection for homosexuals in most situations (with the deplorable exception of those employed within religious organisations - I have written about this before, but make no apology for 'banging on' about it).