Critics ‘chew’ furiously on Zille’s HIV/drug testing ‘carrots’

Chris Bateman


Feisty Western Cape Premier Helen Zille saw out 2011 in a firestorm of protest over pilot and planned provincial lotteries offering potential cash prizes to anyone who tested for HIV and (negative for) drug abuse, claiming ‘persuasion’ had so far proven to be a blunt instrument.
The fuse to a series of rhetorical explosions by respondents as varied as the public sector committee of the South African Medical Association (SAMA), the Treatment Action Campaign (aka Section 27), and various topical HIV pandemic authors was lit by a keynote speech Zille gave at her health department’s first-ever Wellness Summit in early November. Fuel was added to the fire by several incorrect reports of her address (including that she intended refusing ARVs to HIV-positive men who had sex without condoms or without telling their partners). However, it was incentivised testing and South Africans’ bedroom behaviour that injected what one celebrated HIV/AIDS author, Helen Epstein, described as ‘hopeful openness’ into the ongoing local AIDS prevention debate.

Author's affiliations

Chris Bateman, HMPG

Full Text



HIV testing, drug testing, incentivising

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2012;102(1):12.

Article History

Date submitted: 2011-12-02
Date published: 2011-12-14

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