The Times Sunday has allowed one of its regular columnists to claim that the extent of HIV infection in Swaziland is exaggerated.
And, he also makes unproven claims that put the lives of sick people in danger.
Qalakaliboli Dlamini, writing in the Times Sunday yesterday (20 November 2110), claims there is a conspiracy by donor organisations to make it seem that the HIV AIDS situation in Swaziland is worse than it really is so they can continue to get funding to stay in business.
Dlamini also says that people in Swaziland are told that they are HIV positive, when they are not.
Dlamini wrote, ‘There are many […] cases where people were diagnosed as HIV positive but when a second test was conducted in an institution outside Swaziland, they turned out HIV negative.
‘The reason I mention this case is just to highlight to the reader the true picture of what is really happening in Swaziland.
‘When the western countries opened their doors to the funding of states and organisations which deal with HIV and AIDS, Swaziland as a country of opportunists and greedy people, set out to find large numbers of HIV positive people so that the country could get a share of the funding.
‘Even HIV-negative people were found positive so that donors could pump money into the country.’
The Times Sunday allowed Dlamini to write this stuff (and much more) even though he offered no shred of evidence to support his claims. He didn’t even use the old trick of the journalist scoundrel of getting someone to make the claim so he could quote it as an excuse to go on a rant.
Dlamini is sending out a dangerous message. What he is telling Swazi people is that if they test HIV-positive they shouldn’t believe the diagnosis. They shouldn’t take life-saving ARV drugs and they shouldn’t modify their sexual behaviour to stop the virus spreading.
The Times Sunday needs to tell its readers the truth about HIV in plain language. It can begin by publicly accepting that Dlamini’s insane outburst is untrue. An explanation as to why it allowed him to write such dangerous nonsense in the first place would also be welcome.