HIV/AIDS: The International Security Dimensions

  • Stefan Elbe


Now in its third decade, HIV/AIDS is well poised to become the most devastating pandemic in modern human history. Throughout the world an estimated 42 million people are already living with HIV, while in some African countries national HIV prevalence rates are currently thought to be well in excess of one-third of the adult population. The immense scale of this pandemic means that almost three times as many persons die from AIDS-related illnesses every day, than died during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. So great is the scale now reached by this pandemic that scholars and policy makers are beginning to recognize that in the worst affected countries the longer-term impact of HIV/AIDS will not be confined to the individual human tragedies suffered by those persons living with the virus and by their respective families. In these same countries HIV/AIDS will also have a plethora of wider economic, political, and social ramifications that will need to be carefully considered and addressed. Among these hitherto overlooked ramifications, this chapter suggests, are the emerging human, national, and international security dimensions of the illness. Scholars and policy makers will have to recognize these security dimensions in order to arrive at a more comprehensive understanding of the nature of the current pandemic and for the level of the international response to become commensurate with the extent of the humanitarian and global security challenge posed by the AIDS pandemic.


Gross Domestic Product Security Council Armed Conflict Security Dimension Human Security 
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© Elke Krahmann 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Elbe

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