Back in the early 1980s, when HIV-related deaths were first reported in this country, many South Africans were dismissive of Aids. It was, they scoffed, a disease afflicting certain kinds of people. In the black community, it was said to be a white man’s disease.

In the white community, it was perceived as just punishment for gay people and "sexually deviant" types. In other words, the disease was not part of "us". It was "them" — whoever they were. It did not help that later, then president Thabo Mbeki intellectualised the crisis, arguing that he did not know of anyone who had died of Aids...

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