“A Long Illness”: Towards a History of NGO, Government and Medical discourse around AIDS policy-making in South Africa
This thesis will aim to set out a critical history of AIDS policy-making: using the records of the Family Planning Association of South Africa; the University ofthe Witwatersrand’s Centre for Health Policy and Women’s Health Project; late and post-apartheid government policy documents; relevant articles in
1 To explain a little my choice of the term ‘AIDS’, in South Africa it is common to write HIV/AIDS to imply the causal linkages between the two phenomena, I am of the opinion, unlike President Mbeki and other ‘dissidents’, that the best science, has for almost two decades argued that HIV is the cause of AIDS. However, in the first few years under discussion in this dissertation this was not always known, so for the purposes of chronology, avoidance of anachronism and correct historical method, I will use the term AIDS to denote the phenomenon in general, and refer to HIV where applicable.
2 South African and international medical journals; the Durban Medical Officer of Health Reports; relevant newspaper and magazine articles and interviews with health policy academics conducted by the author. Using this primary evidence, it will argue that the current AIDS policy impasse between medics2, Non-Governmental Organsations (NGOs) and the state is ultimately over how the present government’s thinking on AIDS is fundamentally constrained by the spectres of late apartheid and colonial discours around Africans and their relationship to medicine and disease.