AIDS poses a formidable challenge to African policy makers and health professionals. Of the estimated 9 to 11 million cases of HIV infection worldwide, some 7 million are in sub-Saharan Africa. In this largely impoverished region the AIDS pandemic has destabilised already precarious institutions and jeopardised the accomplishment of other pressing health objectives.

To counter the pandemic in a sustainable manner, an alliance is needed among African governments, international donors, health professionals, pharmaceutical companies and non-governmental organisations operating at all levels down to local communities. Such an alliance, involving a partnership between different elements of society, is potentially capable of meeting the AIDS challenge through a range of complementary initiatives in prevention, education, treatment and research.

This monograph is a synthesis of ideas originating from two roundtable discussions among African physicians with expert and first-hand knowledge of the present situation in their own countries. Supported by a grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, these discussions represent an attempt to identify effective interventions which can contribute to the containment and, ultimately, the resolution of the AIDS pandemic in Africa.