Beyond statistics of the dead and infected, little is certain about the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
No confirmed origin. Plenty of potential magic bullets, but still no cure. And in sub-Saharan Africa, the virus' ground zero, the woeful, shopworn question persists: Why has the spread been so rapid, so devastating?
Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani speaks at a town hall meeting in Londonderry, N.H. last month. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)
Sally Pipes serves as president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute, a free-market think tank that draws some of its funding from pharmaceutical companies. Given that bit of back story, imagine her distress when the Thai government issued "compulsory patents" to its domestic drug manufacturers at the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) to copy and reproduce formulas for two antiretroviral drugs.
In 1984, during Mitch McConnell's nascent run for the U.S. Senate against two-term Democrat Walter "Dee" Huddleston, McConnell gained considerable traction with an ad showing a pack of bloodhounds scouring the country for the incumbent. Huddleston had a reputation for being something of a senatorial non-entity with a penchant for missing roll call votes. McConnell rode the bloodhounds (and Ronald Reagan's coattails) to the slightest of victories, setting him on the path to his current position as Senate minority leader.