忽略科学的惨痛代价

普林斯顿-在南非总统塔博·姆贝基的整个任期内,他都拒绝承认艾滋病是由一种HIV病毒引起,以及抗逆转录酶病毒药物可以挽救那些艾滋病病毒检测成阳性的人的生命的科学共识。相反,他支持一小群认为艾滋病是由其他原因引起的持不同意见的科学家的观点。

姆贝基固执地继续坚持这种观点,即使在反对这种观点的证据具有压倒性的时候也是如此。如果任何人——即使是英勇抵抗种族隔离的斗士、后来成为南非第一位黑人总统的尼尔森·曼德拉——公开质疑姆贝基的观点,姆贝基的支持者就会恶意抨击这些人。

在南非的邻国博茨瓦纳和纳米比亚为其大多数感染HIV病毒的国民提供抗逆转录酶病毒药物的时候,在姆贝基领导下的南非没有这样做。一个由哈佛大学研究者组成的小组已经在调查这一政策的后果。进行保守的假设,该小组估计,如果南非政府向艾滋病人和有感染其胎儿风险的怀孕妇女提供恰当的药物,那么就可以防止365,000人的早死。

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