AIDS and International Security in the United Nations System

Simon Berkeley Rushton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (SciVal)


Two assumptions underpin much of the literature that has examined the links between HIV/AIDS and security: (1) that HIV/AIDS is now firmly established as an international security issue; and (2) that Resolution 1308, adopted by the UN Security Council in July 2000, was the decisive moment in the securitization process. This article questions both of those assumptions. It argues that even within the Security Council, HIV/AIDS’ status as a bona fide threat to international peace and security is not entirely secure. Despite the fact that the Resolution was adopted unanimously, there is considerable doubt over the extent to which the Council members were persuaded that HIV/AIDS is genuinely a threat to international peace and security. Furthermore, the Council's subsequent actions suggest a retreat from the issue. The article moves on to examine statements made in and by some of the other key UN System bodies grappling with HIV/AIDS. Focusing in particular on the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and UNAIDS, it is argued that the international security framing of HIV/AIDS has not generally achieved a great deal of traction within these bodies. Alternative framings, in particular international development and human rights, occur far more frequently. This raises issues for our understanding of both securitization theory and the global governance of HIV/AIDS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-504
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Policy and Planning
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 06 Nov 2010


  • international security
  • Securitization
  • United Nations
  • UN Security Council
  • General Assembly
  • international development
  • human rights


Dive into the research topics of 'AIDS and International Security in the United Nations System'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this