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NEW YORK — “People look at disabled people and think they don’t have sex. We have sex. And we can be infected with HIV.” John Meletse is a deaf, gay, and HIV-positive South African. When he went to get tested for HIV in 2001, the clinic staff couldn’t…
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Three years ago, the African Union began a continent-wide campaign to reduce the number of women who die when pregnant or giving birth. Called the Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa, its slogan is "Africa cares: no woman…
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I met Nonkulelo* while interviewing women in the Eastern Cape about their experience of pregnancy and the public health system. She told me about her daughter, Fezeka*. A week after 20-year-old Fezeka had delivered a baby girl at a local health facility…
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South Africa's tourism website describes the country as the "land of good times and friendly people". Sadly, Araya Y, a pregnant Somali refugee living in Port Elizabeth, did not experience this side of the country. Instead, when she went to a government…
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Nomsa, a 20-year-old woman from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, showed me a scar on her thigh. She said it came from a wound inflicted by a nurse at a community health centre in 2010. The nurse, Nomsa said, used a pair of scissors "to make me open my legs…
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Dr. Eddie Mhlanga, South Africa’s chief director of maternal and women’s health, has movingly written about how he, as a conservative Christian, changed his mind on whether abortion should be a crime. When he was a young doctor, a colleague died in his…
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In 1988, while Nelson Mandela was in prison, he contracted tuberculosis (TB). TB is common in prisons, with overcrowded cells and poor ventilation facilitating transmission. Mandela is now long free, but TB remains a threat to all prisoners - and to all…
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For years now, women’s groups in Southern Africa have campaigned tirelessly to ensure that the Southern African Development Community adopt the Protocol on Gender and Development. Yesterday, the SADC finally took that historic step. Member states will be…
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Human Rights Watch's March 2004 HIV/AIDS report, Deadly Delay, highlighted laws in South Africa preventing children's access to life-saving medicine and antiretroviral treatment. This month, the government expanded the definition of a caregiver or…