Intellectual Property and Access to Essential Medicines
Elgar Intellectual Property and Global Development series
Edited by Obijiofor Aginam, John Harrington and Peter K. Yu
Chapter 11: The global governance of HIV/AIDS and the rugged road ahead: An epilogue
Since its discovery more than three decades ago, AIDS has grown from a disease afflicting only a small portion of the world’s population to one having major deleterious effects on an ever-growing number of people. To date, over 30 million adults and about 2.5 million children have been infected with the disease (UNAIDS, 2010, p. 180). Another 25 million have died owing to the infection (The Economist, 2011). If we count family members, loved ones and the numerous professionals and volunteers who cared for the infected, HIV/AIDS has disturbed the lives of an incalculable number of individuals and communities from around the world. Yet, despite the gravity of this public health crisis and the many dedicated responses, we are still nowhere close to finding a solution to containing, if not curing, the disease. As the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) lamented in its latest report, about two-thirds of the estimated 15 million people living with HIV in less developed countries have no access to affordable life-saving medications (UNAIDS, 2010, p. 7). Such limited access has renewed fears that the disease will continue to plague the globe for decades to come. In the past two decades, a global governance structure has slowly emerged to address the HIV/AIDS crisis. From programs developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to the ongoing negotiations in the Doha Development Round of Trade Negotiations (Doha Round) at the World Trade Organization (WTO), governments have worked closely to confront the crisis head-on.
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