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It is currently estimated that over 36 million individuals are infected with HIV, a number that is projected to grow to 100 million people by 2005. It is also estimated that, in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the epidemic has to date hit the hardest, one in four adults will eventually be killed by AIDS. As a result, it is becoming increasingly clear that, for a growing number of states, HIV/AIDS can no longer be understood � or responded to � merely as a public health crisis.

HIV/AIDS must be viewed as a security crisis with the potential to affect peoples, states and the international community in a similar fashion to more traditional forms of conflict. This is the message of a special ICG report, HIV/AIDS as a Security Issue, published in advance of the UN General Assembly Special Session on AIDS on 25 June 2001.

HIV/AIDS is profoundly destabilising in several important ways. When prevalent in epidemic proportions, HIV/AIDS can destroy, like war, the fundamental elements of a nation: individuals, families and communities; economic and social institutions; military and police forces. In this sense, HIV/AIDS undercuts human security, harming economic and social stability and breaking down governance and social cohesion.

The cross-border consequences of HIV/AIDS also have the potential to undermine international security, not only in Africa, but in other countries that are considered vital to international stability, such as China, India, Russia and Ukraine.

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Latest Reports
HIV/AIDS as a Security Issue
19 June 2001