The Challenge: A Transnational Response to HIV/AIDS

  • Diana Sonntag
Part of the Contributions to Economics book series (CE)


Since the appearance of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) more than 25 years ago the virus has been spread all over the world, but unevenly. The concentration of HIV in developing countries is worrying because their governments are often reluctant to intervene. Those governments are faced with other important demands as addressing malnutrition which are competitive for scarce financial resources. Hence, their willingness to establish anti-AIDS programmes is little. The epidemiological, political and social consequences do not only become visible within developing countries, but also globally. This cross-country health interdependency has to be reflected in a worldwide response because isolated interventions do not seem to be effective in the long run. The concept of international public goods was suggested in the academic literature on AIDS to solve international concerns. Several governments and international organisations like the World Bank or the WHO have followed this recommendation by setting this topic on their agendas (World Bank 2000, pp. 2, 6; Engqvist 2001, p. 3). The WHO and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), for example, refer to the provision of HIV prevention as a classic public good intervention in their annual report about the AIDS epidemic in 2005 (UNAIDS and WHO 2005, p. 7). However, it seems that the provision of international public goods does not meet the requirement to result in effective policy responses in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Cross-country benefit and cost spillovers and the resulting difficulties in determining the corresponding prices imply that the control of HIV/AIDS tends to be suboptimal. In contrast to national health-promoting public goods as maintaining hospitals, there is no government that can intervene either by using taxes for financing or by direct provision (Smith et al. 2004, p. 272). This chapter shows why a consideration of international public goods with respect to the global AIDS epidemic is still justified.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Public Good Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Acquire Immune Deficiency Syndrome Human Immunodeficiency Virus Prevalence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vienna University of Economics and Business Institute for Social PolicyWienAustria

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