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UNAIDS Congratulates Mandela On His Candour

UNAIDS Congratulates Mandela On His Candour On Son's Death From Aids

Expressing condolences to former South African President Nelson Mandela on the recent death of his only surviving son, the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) said his candour in disclosing that his son had died in the pandemic was vital in the fight against stigmatizing AIDS victims.

"Mr. Mandela's public acknowledgement that his son, Makgatho Mandela, had died from an AIDS-related illness is a demonstration of the practical leadership that Mr. Mandela gives to the international efforts to fight stigma and discrimination," Dr. Peter Piot said in a statement released on 7 January.

He noted that other southern African leaders, including former Mozambican First Lady Graça Machel, now Mr. Mandela's wife, former opposition leader and South African Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi and former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, had spoken openly about the impact of AIDS on their families.

The openness of these leaders showed that HIV/AIDS knew no boundaries, UNAIDS said.

Mr. Mandela's son died last week at the age of 54. His older brother died in a car accident in 1969.

Mr. Buthelezi helped to break South Africa's silence on the disease last year when he announced that two of his children had died from AIDS-related causes.

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