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The world is in the early stages of what will be the greatest health crisis in modern times. Millions of people—most of them in the world’s poor countries—are infected with HIV. The vast majority of these people will suffer and die from AIDS. The extent of this problem presents profound moral and ethical questions for the world’s wealthy people and countries, for it is they who are most able to assist the poor in addressing this tragedy. What is more, the spread of HIV and AIDS poses major threats to the interests of the developed countries. In short, HIV/AIDS presents the world with some of the most profound moral and practical challenges it has ever faced during peacetime. Nevertheless, developed countries have been very slow in responding to the international dimensions of this problem. They have instead focused on the relatively few people within their own borders at risk for HIV or suffering from AIDS, seemingly unwilling to recognize the greater challenges posed by the global spread of HIV. The rhetoric has started to change, but the developed countries have not backed this rhetoric with the substantial new and additional funds to assist the poor countries in coping with and reversing the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This essay examines this moral and practical problem in the context of North-South relations. It serves to highlight the need for much more international assistance to combat HIV/AIDS in the developing world.


CPPS Working Paper Series No.113

Recommended Citation

Harris, P. G., & Siplon, P. (2001). Evolving norms of north-south assistance will they be applied to HIV/AIDS? (CPPS Working Papers Series no.113). Retrieved from Lingnan University website: