It's hardly news that the best intentions of governments and the expertise of public health and infectious disease researchers have not succeeded in containing the AIDS epidemic in Africa and other parts of the developing world.

But in April 2001, when UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called for the establishment of a global fund on AIDS and health, hopes rose that the addition of a third critical element — major investment of funds in a coordinated international effort — could promote the integrated goals of controlling HIV and two major related diseases, tuberculosis and malaria.

In October 2001 in Baltimore, Maryland, the Johns Hopkins University Center for AIDS Research hosted a two-day conference that shed some light on whether this hope is warranted. Given that the UN has estimated the cost of preventing and treating AIDS alone in the developing world at 7 to 10 billion dollars annually, and that...

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