The Art of Medicine: HIV/AIDS and the Challenges of Security and Conflict

Over the decade that has followed, the issue of HIV/AIDS and security enjoyed a dramatic intellectual profile, which shaped the global response to the pandemic. The precursor to the Security Council debate was a US National Intelligence assessment of the security threat posed by infectious diseases, which singled out HIV/AIDS as the gravest such peril. The National Intelligence Council report sounded the alarm: “the persistent infectious disease burden is likely to aggravate and in some cases, may even provoke economic decay, social fragmentation and political destabilisation of the hardest hit countries in the developing world”. The analysis was innovative and its forecasts were frightening. It had the desired impacts. Today, the incorporation of human security issues, such as hunger, disease, or climate change, into the international security agenda is part of commonplace discussion in foreign ministries and UN agencies.