After his retirement, Mandela became a courageous and willing advocate for eradicating HIV/AIDS often defying his own government’s denial of the epidemic. In 2000, he gave the closing address at the XII International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa. Afterward, he worked tirelessly to end the stigma and shame for those living with HIV/AIDS and eventually became a strong supporter of increased prevention and treatment for those living with the disease not only in South Africa but around the world.
The members of the NMA, an organization whose mission it is to advocate on behalf of the underserved and the disadvantaged against health disparities, felt a great loss upon the death of Nelson Mandela, who wasa wonderful health and human rights leader. “I speak on behalf of our NMA leadership, membership and staff when I say that Nelson Mandela’s passing has affected us all, but we must and will draw inspiration from his life’s work,” said Michael A. LeNoir, M.D.,114th president of the National Medical Association. “The contributions of an elegant and remarkable man with a quiet strength, augmented by a vision of world peace, come along only once in a lifetime. Although he is no longer with us physically, his death provides an opportunity for all of us to reflect and celebrate not only his life but his legacy,” continued LeNoir.