May 8 2005
South Africa's health minister insisted last week that her government would not be pressured into meeting U.N. treatment targets.
Health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang who has often been accused by health activists of resisting the use of anti-AIDS drugs and not doing enough to combat AIDS, said good nutrition was just as important as antiretroviral medicines for people infected with HIV and stressed the benefits of olive oil, garlic and beet root.
In reference to the global target set by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS she says she refuses to be pushed or pressurized by a target of 3 million people on antiretrovirals by 2005, saying that far too little was known about the side effects of the drugs.
Tshabalala-Msimang, who critics nickname Dr. Garlic, insists that raw garlic and the skin of a lemon give protection from disease and "give you a beautiful face and skin".
This is despite the fact that although studies have demonstrated that good nutrition is important for HIV patients in boosting their overall health, it is medication that keeps them alive and can help them thrive.
South Africa leads the world in HIV infection.