The Launch of the Control Programme on AIDS
The World Health Organization (WHO) finally began moving forward on AIDS under the leadership of Fakhry Assaad, the Director of WHO’s Division of Communicable Diseases. WHO Director-General Halfdan Mahler had initially thought that AIDS was outside of WHO’s mandate, but external pressure and emerging evidence on the extent of the disease convinced him to the contrary. This chapter explains how the rapid increase in AIDS cases across the world put extraordinary pressure on Assaad’s time and energy. It describes the early actions he took to assist countries, including the establishment of WHO Collaborating Centers and the formation of the WHO Control Programme on AIDS. Assaad eventually recruited Jonathan Mann to join the program, positioning WHO to lead the global response to the pandemic.