By way of introduction to our special dossier on infectious diseases, Nicolas Simon reminds us here of some of the dramatic episodes they have occasioned in the past. He also points up the successes achieved in the struggle against smallpox, for example, while underscoring the extent of the HIV/AIDS and malaria epidemics, which mainly affect populations in the less developed countries.
However, he stresses the scale of the effort put in by the international community since the mid-1990s and the beneficial effects that have ensued. He thus shows how disastrous it would be if that effort slackened and stresses, in very timely fashion, the need to continue with and, indeed, intensify it. He also emphasizes the lead role certain countries and the NGOs and foundations can play to this effect, including through an institution as remarkable as the “Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria”. But let us make no mistake, says Nicolas Simon, it is, once again, a question of priorities.