My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
Despite all these considerations, Mbeki’s stance on AIDS prevailed for only a time. The overwhelming evidence that emerged that AIDS was devastating communities, coupled with increasingly incontrovertible evidence that ARVs were restoring health and saving lives, the relentless courage of Mbeki’s media critics on AIDS, the TAC and its allies in COSATU, coupled – crucially – with former President Nelson Mandela’s influential intervention all precipitated inner-circle conditions that made it possible to prevail upon Mbeki to permit publicly-funded ARV treatment to be made
available. Unfavourable international focus on President Mbeki’s stance also assisted in breaking the denialist grip on AIDS policy. – Judge Edwin Cameron and Nathan Geffen in The deadly hand of denial: Governance and politically-instigated AIDS denialism in South Africa