The moral economy of AIDS

The Centre for Public Law and the African Studies Program at York University will present the second annual Oputa lecture on Governance in Africa on Friday. Professor Nicoli Nattrass (left), director of the AIDS and Society Research Unit at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, will speak about “AIDS, Science and Governance: The Battle over Antiretroviral Therapy in Post-Apartheid South Africa”. The lecture will take place in the Moot Court Room, 101 Osgoode Hall Law School, from 1:40-3:30pm on March 24.

AIDS drugs are expensive, but life is far more valuable – and for less that two percent of the gross national product, South Africa can bring hope to many. This is the view of Nattrass, who is also a professor of economics and director of the Centre for Social Science Research at the University of Cape Town.

Nattrass has published widely on inequality, unemployment and the politics and economics of AIDS policy in South Africa. Her book, The Moral Economy of Aids in South Africa (2003) argues that the use of antiretrovirals for the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS is economically viable and socially desirable. In her book, Nattrass looks at South Africa’s contentious AIDS policy from an economic and ethical perspective.

The lecture series provides a forum in which Africans involved at the highest levels of governance on the continent can interact and exchange ideas with the York University community and the larger Canadian audience on the challenges and triumphs of governance in Africa. The series is named after Chukwudifu Akunne Oputa, one of the most prominent African jurists of our time, a distinguished former Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, and most recently, the Chair of the Human Rights Investigation Commission.

Following the lecture, there will be a reception in the Room 221 (Faculty Common Room) in Osgoode Hall Law School on York’s Keele campus. Everyone is welcome. If you are attending, call ext. 55515 or e-mail For more information, visit the Osgoode Hall Law School Web site.