SHOOT: Not necessarily good, but better than Mbeki. He gets himself tested, but his behaviour remains risky.
Mr Zuma’s candour may have sent a less useful signal too. He has at least 20 children by at least eight different women. At his trial in 2006 for rape (for which he was acquitted) he admitted having unprotected sex with a woman he knew to be HIV-positive, saying he took a shower afterwards to fend off the virus. Although he may have encouraged people to take HIV tests, some may take Mr Zuma’s negative result to imply that his risky behaviour was not so foolish after all.
A study by the Harvard School of Public Health reckoned that South African government policy had led to 330,000 unnecessary deaths. Now 5.7m South Africans—18% of adults—have HIV/AIDS.
Mr Zuma, whatever the ambiguities of his own example, is surely an improvement on Mr Mbeki.