South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign needs help: We’re reading about TAC’s contributions to global health and human rights, and how the world can give back

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NewWWRWhen 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.”

One thought on “South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign needs help: We’re reading about TAC’s contributions to global health and human rights, and how the world can give back

  1. Chantal

    TAC has lost their way–they used to fight for access to treatment but now they are conservative and just fight for access for some of the people who are already on treatment while most of the south africans with HIV are not on treatment–apparently only 2.7 million are on treatment of over 6 million infected with HIV–if they do not fight for access to early treatment+services to support everyone on treatment then who will support them? The number of deaths each year in SA due to AIDS is appalling and is mostly preventable with treatment.

    Nostalgia is not enough to keep an organization afloat even if they did a great job before–they need to change and assume leadership in the fight to ensure that everyone is on high quality earlier treatment and not just the those who are lucky or very sick. If they find their voice they will find their funding–if not they will disappear along with old ideas about how to treat the virus..


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