When some day AIDS ends as a global threat, the group that started in the country with the greatest burden of the disease in the world, and formed its life-saving mission to confront the toll of the disease around human rights, dignity and equality, will take its place, and its share of credit in history. But with that day far in the future still, South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign is falling victim to the tragic irony of important successes in the battle against AIDS, many spurred by the group’s work, having been mistaken for victory. With that, some must have assumed, TAC’s work was done. As a result, with the end of the pandemic still decades away at best, donations to the cause have dwindled and TAC’s work remains essential, but threatened. TAC responded to news in September that the activist group that has saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people was itself in imminent danger, with a statement promising: “We will not go down without a doing everything in our power to find the funds to sustain the TAC in 2015.” With 2015 a month away, we’re reading about what TAC has done, and what you can do.
South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign: Combining Law and Social Mobilization to Realize the Right to Health – This 2009 Journal of Human Rights Practice article by Mark Heywood tells TAC’s history, why the group’s work changed approaches to health and human rights and how it can serve as a model for still greater change.
Nelson Mandela visits Zackie Achmat – When in 2002 TAC founder Zackie Achmat refused to take the antiretroviral medicine he needed and could afford, until they were available to people who could not afford them, Nelson Mandela paid a visit that provides a look at two leaders showing the power of individual action.
“The world’s most effective AIDS group” – This New York Times article tells of the obstacles people living with HIV in South Africa needing life-saving treatment still faced in 2006, and how, confronting those obstacles TAC was “probably the world’s most effective AIDS group.”
A special message to you from Archbishop Desmond Tutu – An icon urges “Let’s keep activism and accountability alive.”