Aids activists disrupt Durban conference

2009-04-02 00:00

AIDS activists protested at the fourth South Africa Aids conference yesterday over concerns over the effect of the global economic meltdown on treatment for people living with HIV and tuberculosis.

Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and People with Aids protested outside the main hall of the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban, forcing hundreds of delegates to leave their seminars because of the noise.

Security guards formed a human chain around the group, but battled to control them. Armed with placards, the group ran through the conference centre shouting and singing struggle songs.

Police spokesman Superintendent Vincent Mdunge told Sapa, “Chaos was caused by a small group of TAC members and the situation is being managed by our members and staff from the centre”.

Rebecca Hodes of the TAC said research has shown that the epidemic is increasing at an alarming rate, with more than 1 000 people infected every day in South Africa.

“It’s important that leaders in the G20 are meeting in London to focus on securing funding for these diseases. We are terrified that donors to ARV treatment programme will stop their funding,” Hodes added.

The conference started on Monday.

Health Minister Barbara Hogan is expected to address delegates at the event's close on today.

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