7 December 2018

South Africa: Treatment Action Campaign Celebrates Two Decades of Fighting Against the Odds - and Winning

South African HIV/Aids action group members of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) protest during a meeting at St Georges Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa 29 August 2007. EPA/NIC BOTHMA

The Treatment Action Campaign remains as relevant in 2018 as it was 20 years ago, when it was formed to become a thorn in government's side and a symbol of hope for people dying from HIV/Aids.

The dying had started. Traffic jams at cemeteries would become the weekend norm, likewise daily newspaper obituaries, column upon column of people felled in their prime. This was HIV/Aids -- but no one was saying so.

Ten people on the steps of St George's Cathedral on 10 December 1998 however, were shouting loudly about HIV/Aids. They were going to show their faces and make demands for the right of everyone to receive treatment.

This was the birth of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) that on Monday marks its 20th anniversary. It's the story of how a T-shirt with the slogan "HIV-positive" came to be a thorn in government's side, a symbol of hope for people dying from HIV/Aids and an icon of activism still needed in an age of democracy.

TAC co-founder Zackie Achmat...

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