HIV and AIDS in Africa: Compulsory Licensing Under TRIPS and DOHA Declaration

14 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2010 Last revised: 14 Jan 2014

Date Written: December 3, 2010


In today’s world, there is a lot of focus on issues such as militancy, global warming, terrorism, racism and even politics. Unfortunately, there is a problem that has killed and is still killing far more people than any of the above issues. That problem is HIV/AIDS.

AIDS is a serious medical condition that predisposes patients towards opportunistic infecting tumors, dementia and death. HIV is the viral agent associated with AIDS. Ensuring continued access to affordable antiretroviral (ARVs) medicines is vital for the survival of patients due to the fact that ARVs can slow down and reverse the progression of HIV infection, subsequently delaying the onset of AIDS by at least 20 years.

Africa is without doubt more heavily affected by HIV/AIDS than any other region of the world. Unfortunately the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa is quickly outpacing the number of people receiving treatment and the access to essential medicines. The implication is that to many Africans, being infected with HIV/AIDS is equivalent to a death sentence.

This paper will examine the importance of compulsory licensing to facilitate access to life-serving medications for Africans and will explore the global debate on the TRIPS Agreement and public health. Specifically, it will focus on the implications, and limitations, of the Doha Declaration to compulsory licensing. The paper will further make recommendations for narrowing the divergence between the needs of HIV/AIDS patients and the protection of patent holders Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).

Keywords: HIV, AIDS, Africa, Compulsory Licensing, Generic Drugs

Suggested Citation

Akpotaire, Ufuoma Barbara, HIV and AIDS in Africa: Compulsory Licensing Under TRIPS and DOHA Declaration (December 3, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Ufuoma Barbara Akpotaire (Contact Author)

Columbia University - School of Law ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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