This is the history of a relatively young organization - UNAIDS, launched in 1996 to strengthen the way in which the United Nations (UN) was responding to AIDS, one of the worst pandemics the world has ever known. By 1996, some 15 years since a few cases of the new condition were first reported in a scientific publication, over four million people had died from AIDS, several million were living with HIV and the future predictions were dire. This book relates the struggles and achievements of the institution, and the contribution it has made to the progress, however slow and faltering at times, in the response to one of the greatest threats humankind has faced. It also attempts to explain the innovative nature of UNAIDS - a joint programme that has brought together a number of cosponsoring UN organizations (originally six, now 10). Only a special UN programme was deemed capable by its creators of 'orchestrating a global response to a fast-growing epidemic of a feared and stigmatised disease whose roots and ramifications extend into virtually all aspects of society'.