HIV/AIDS: Under Siege

The international community is about to turn its collective mind to a battle that is quietly devastating lives and livelihoods, especially in Africa – the fight against AIDS. Next month the United Nations General Assembly convenes a special session on the epidemic, and it is on the agenda for the July G8 meeting of leading industrial countries. But will these talking shops do something practical to limit this modern plague?

The World Today Published 1 May 2001 Updated 26 October 2020 4 minute READ

Michelle Sieff

Consultant with Africa AIDS Initiative, New York

The AIDS epidemic has once again seized the international spotlight. On the frontline in South Africa – where the disease infects 4.7 million people – the world’s largest drug companies began a battle in March to strike down a law which allows the import of cheaper generic drugs. And when pharmaceutical companies dispatched an army of lawyers to Pretoria, activists drew their own weapons – words – and loudly accused them of profiting from African blood. The shame game worked and soon after, Merck and other companies announced they will sell the drugs at cost to developing countries.

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