MOYERS: On our program last week, we heard the author Herman Gollob sum up the insight of William Shakespeare into human nature as a long-running contest between altruism and egotism.
Both, I know from experience, are the stuff of politics. And no one I know reveals these twin motives more aptly
than Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States.
Personal ambition got him to the White House; altruism has
kept him busy since he left it 20 years ago.
Jimmy Carter seems as much at home now in the trouble spots
of the world, among the weak and powerless, as he does in the counsels of the
mighty, or in Plains, Georgia.
Recently, he was back in Africa. He and another model citizen, Bill Gates, Sr., who heads the wealthiest foundation in the world, one dedicated to public health, hoped to
throw a spotlight on the deepening AIDS crisis.
Video journalist Jamila Paksima followed their journey.
JAMILA PAKSIMA: I was invited to return to Africa as
part of an entourage led by a former President, Jimmy Carter, and an ally, the
CEO of the largest foundation in the world, Bill Gates, Sr., father of the
richest man in the world.
They are here to take a firsthand look at a continent
coping with the worst health calamity on the planet: AIDS.
JIMMY CARTER: If you take all the wars put together in the
history of humankind, there has never been such a devastating cost in human life
as is resulting from HIV/AIDS.
PAKSIMA: 40 million people in the world have
HIV; 70% of them live in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Carter and Gates will visit four African nations and meet
with people from every strata of society, even prostitutes.
PAKSIMA: Nigeria is the most populated nation in
Africa. An estimated 3.5 million Nigerians are HIV-positive. Ninety percent of them don't know it because they've never been
Nigeria is now taking action, subsidizing
treatment of anti-retrovirals at 25 test sites and expanding a prevention program for
One way HIV has spread fastest in Nigeria, as in so many
other countries, is the sex industry.
IRENE (SOCIAL WORKER): Right now, Mabushi here is the center of sex
workers in Abuja.
PAKSIMA: More than 5,000 women in the Mabushi
slums sell their bodies for money, and estimates are 38% of them are
The Carters are escorted into Benedict
BENEDICT FREEMAN: Many of the folks here in the village don't know the secret of HIV/AIDS,
but I know it is killing our loved ones, you know? So I like the education to be sharing around to us here. I have introduced selling condoms in my bar.
PAKSIMA: Oh, yeah?
FREEMAN: Do you want me to show you? Okay, come on.
This is Freeman's entertainment bar, lovers spot. Pleasure men with conscience. We are conscience men here.
PAKSIMA: Twice a week, Benedict opens his bar to
an unlikely support group called WHED. WHED's members are prostitutes.
SALUME: It is because of this organization. I learned that it's good to use condoms when you want sex. I don't buy it one. I go for the packets, I buy it in packets, so that any time somebody comes to me, I won't go out and look for it I will just then pick it from my table there.
CARTER: Have you seen anyone dying of AIDS?
STELLA: In my hometown, there are more than 200 people I
CARTER: Are they persecuted?
IRENE: Yeah, people do run away from them and leave them
GROUP: Yes, yes.
GATES: I'm curious how busy are they? How many customers?
WOMAN: I think I have 15 people.
GATES: 15 or ten in a day.
PAKSIMA: The prostitutes charge their customers the equivalent of one dollar for each visit, and in Nigeria, condoms are not
CARTER: Did they find that their customers are willing to
use a condom?
CARTER: All of them?
STELLA: Sunday, last week, a man slapped me, why, because I tell him to use condoms.
CARTER: I would rather have sex with a prostitute that
insists on condoms than I would to have sex with one that didn't care. It shows that they care about themselves and about their
WOMAN: Thank you and God bless you.
CARTER: We should recognize that they have sinned, as have
all of us, and they need to be forgiven and they need to be treated as human
beings, and given an opportunity for life.
GIRL: We welcome you to Central African Republic. Thank you.
CARTER: Thank you.
PAKSIMA: Another country was added to our
schedule at the last minute: the Central African Republic, where four times as
many women as men are infected with HIV.
Here in the city of Bangui, more than 200 HIV-positive
women have lined up to meet the Gates and Carters.
CARTER: They don't have any medicine at all. The only thing they can do is to treat... All these people
have AIDS, and they just treat them until they're gone.
PAKSIMA: This is the only AIDS clinic in the country. It is run with money from Japan, one of the most generous
nations funding foreign assistance programs in Sub-Saharan Africa. These were the first patients suffering
the advanced stages of AIDS the Carters and Gates met on our trip.
ROSLYN CARTER: There's nothing to do for the baby but just watch
TRANSLATER: We have the treatment for related disease for
respiratory disease. That's all we're doing.
ROSLYN CARTER: So sad.
CARTER: This is inconceivable for human beings to stay
aloof from assuming responsibility for addressing this terrible pandemic.
PAKSIMA: I stop to film Roslyn Carter waving
goodbye when I realize the group is leaving without me.
REPORTER IN JEEP: Got it. Grab my hand.
PAKSIMA: We are escorted from the AIDS clinic to
the airport by soldiers still armed with grenade launchers after six years of
PAKSIMA TO CARTER: I have heard you say this is our biggest war. Do you still believe it is true?
CARTER: The United States has been spending in Afghanistan
a billion dollars a week on military expenditures. You know, I would like to see one-tenth this much, one-one-hundredth this much spent on combating this much more horrible war in the
developing world in AIDS.
PAKSIMA: Kenya, where 700 people die each day of
AIDS. Daniel Moi, Kenya's long-time dictator, was hesitant at
first to openly discuss condom usage.
DANIEL MOI, KENYAN LEADER: My appeal to my colleagues within the continent, young and old to know our survival will depend ...
PAKSIMA: Today he is determined to see African
leaders learn to help themselves.
CARTER: I hope they all hear your voice.
PAKSIMA: Kenya is leading the continent in
research to find the AIDS vaccine. The first phase of human trials are now being conducted at Nairobi University Hospital. Sixty percent of the funds for this research come from the Gates
DOCTOR: NAIROBI UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: What we are involved in is a marathon, but we're Kenyans and we're
great long- distance runners, so we will get there.
PAKSIMA: One in five people in Nairobi are
infected by HIV. The government is hoping to turn these numbers around
through a widespread voluntary counseling and testing campaign.
Kibera, on Nairobi's outskirts, is the largest slum in the
Sub-Sahara. One million people live in these alleys and shacks.
At the town meeting, organized by community activists, a
young man on the panel catches my attention with his soulful poetry.
SIMON WAINYOKE: Brothers and sisters,
Friends and relatives and my loving parents
Lend me your ears and get this message right.
With a broken heart I am asking you,
Please, please be faithful to each other
This monster never sleeps
There is no cure for AIDS.
Read the complete poem
PAKSIMA: Simon showed me his life in the village
of Thika, 45 minutes outside of Nairobi.
SIMON: This is my house. This is my girlfriend, Margaret.
PAKSIMA: Simon lost his uncle and three of his
friends to AIDS.
SIMON: This was the first one who passed, this was the
next one. That's why I became a volunteer, so that I can gain
knowledge, not to follow my friends, who have already passed. So I can live and educate my friends.
PAKSIMA: So people come to you in the community for free condoms?
SIMON: Yeah, free condoms.
PAKSIMA: Oh, you have it.
SIMON: Yeah, I always carry them.
PAKSIMA: Do they call you the condom man in town?
SIMON: Yeah, they is calling me he who is dealing with
PAKSIMA: For $2.50 a day, he supports himself and
his girlfriend filling up minibuses called matatus. Simon uses his work to drive the AIDS message home.
SIMON: Without using a condom is like to enter in a matatu without knowing where it is driving you to.
STUDENT: Yes, but how can you friend know that a girl has not had that have HIV germs?
SIMON: That is why I am trying to explain you, it is better for you to take a condom.
PAKSIMA: He is always prepared to demonstrate the
use of a condom and answer the simple kinds of questions most people ask. Then Simon made an amazing confession. He doesn't use a condom with his girlfriend.
SIMON: I trust my girlfriend.
PAKSIMA: But how do you know that she doesn't
SIMON: She was too faithful.
PAKSIMA: Faithful to you?
PAKSIMA: Simon has never been tested for HIV.
Tragically, the most developed nation in the continent has
the highest infection rate in the world. In South Africa, 4.7 million people have HIV. Orphanages are filled to capacity.
Older kids like these four teens are raising themselves
after losing their parents.
Each day, 200 HIV positive babies are born here. But there is an affordable solution to this spiraling
trend: a $4 pill that can prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to
This tablet, an anti-retroviral, is called nevirapine, and
it's at the center of the storm of controversy in South Africa. The President, Thabo Mbeki, refuses to allow government
distribution of any anti-retrovirals in state hospitals, where most people go
for care. He insists the drugs are toxic, unproven, and need more
Despite public outrage and offers from the manufacturer to
provide it free for five years, Mbeki won't budge.
Private clinics are a different story.
NURSE: We are distributing for free to every mother that
agrees to be tested after voluntary counseling.
MPUMI: One of the counselors, they told me that I'm
PAKSIMA: Thomas and his mother, Mpumi, are
fortunate; they went to a private clinic and got the medicine in time.
MPUMI: Yeah, everything is negative.
PAKSIMA: Today, history is being made at the Zola
Clinic in Soweto, where Thomas' mother was treated.
Jimmy Carter and Bill Gates, Sr., are joining South
Africa's most revered hero, former President Nelson Mandela, in an open
challenge to Mbeki's AIDS policies. They are campaigning to make this life-saving medication
available to all south Africans.
GATES: To have a baby of a woman sitting a few feet away
who acknowledged that she was infected by HIV was moving. It was terribly moving to have that child in my arms. It was really impressive.
PAKSIMA: The Gates Foundation is funding the
distribution of nevirapine at the clinic.
CARTER: I realize that in South Africa there is a debate
ongoing about whether the mother to child treatment is effect and safe. My personal belief is that it is completely effective and
NELSON MANDELA: But if the government says, "you don't take
any move in regard to public hospitals, until we have completed our
research," babies, young people are going to die in scores every day.
PAKSIMA: Mandela's words represent an
unprecedented criticism of President Mbeki. Within hours of this event, Mbeki offers to meet with the
They spent an hour confronting him on his policies and
pleading with him to lift his ban to no avail.
The Carter and Gates' campaign is ending in Africa, but
about to start at home.
GATES: The most important thing is to speak out to the
government in our Congress, to our public about the importance of the U.S. stepping up, the U.S. has to step up.
CARTER: And I hope that all of us in our entourage can go
back to the United States and, in the forums that involve rich countries in
Europe and Canada and Japan, that we can add our voices to the clamor and demand
more generosity to address this terrible problem.
PAKSIMA: These babies are one part of the
solution. They have a good chance of living free of HIV because of
nevirapine. For now, they are the rare and lucky future of Africa.
MOYERS: The Carter-Gates trip may have made a
difference in an important development in South Africa.
Their presence with Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela could not
have been lost on the country's President, Thabo Mbeki.
Only months ago, Mbeki was denouncing anti-retroviral drugs
like nevirapine as toxic, and his government refused to distribute the
medicine even to victims of rape. Now, Mbeki has reversed himself.
Shortly before Mbeki's turnabout, the Constitutional Court
ordered the government to make nevirapine available to pregnant women with