Stephen Lewis's closing remarks at the International AIDS Conference have sparked controversy in the AIDS community because Mr. Lewis, speaking in his capacity as the UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, lambasted the South African government for its AIDS policies. Mr. Lewis's choice of language was indeed quite inflammatory, but the substance of his comments was quite accurate. Namely, South Africa continues to promote policies that are antithetical to stopping the spread of AIDS.
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I left the Toronto AIDS Conference last week unsettled. One of the purposes of these conferences is to bring together most of the people working in the field to share lessons and re-energize us to fight harder and do more to help people infected and affected by the disease. But Toronto felt like a professional trade show. Why?