South Africa has been devastated by Aids and HIV. A South African court has banned unauthorized trials of vitamin therapies for Aids, which some say are a health risk. South Africa has one of the world's highest incidences of HIV. One in five adults is reported to be infected and an estimated 500,000 people are infected each year.
The High Court in Cape Town ruled against German physician Matthias Rath and US doctor David Rasnick, a former adviser to President Thabo Mbeki. The case was brought by the pressure group the South African Medical Association and the Treatment Action Campaign. They accused Dr Rath of conducting illegal trials among poor communities.
Matthias Rath and his Rath Foundation promote vitamin pills and minerals that they say can reverse the development of HIV/Aids. However, critics say such trials had led to unnecessary deaths when HIV-positive people stopped using anti-retroviral drugs. Moreover, TAC and SAMA accused the South African government of not doing enough to stop the trials and failing in its duty of care to the public.
Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who has controversially advocated beetroot and garlic instead of anti-retroviral drugs, denied the allegations. Nathan Geffen of the Treatment Action Campaign hailed the judgment as a victory for scientific governance, which he said had been contested by the health minister and president.
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