March 31, 2003

Symposium looks at legal aspect of AIDS crisis

By Elaine Justice and Holly Korschun

A multinational cast of industry leaders, policy makers and leading scholars will gather at the School of Law April 3–4 for a public symposium addressing the legal, medical, public health and development challenges of fighting the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Called the NEXUS Symposium, the event is an interdisciplinary forum on the impact of international patent and trade agreements in the global fight against HIV and AIDS. Keynote speaker for the symposium will be Stephen Lewis, United Nations special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Rollins School of Public Health Dean James Curran, who directs the Emory Center for AIDS Research, will participate, and he will be joined by University colleagues Claudia Adkison, executive associate dean for the School of Medicine; Harold Berman, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law; and Martha Rogers, professor in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and director of the Center for Child Well-Being of the Task Force for Child Survival.

Among the visiting experts will be:
• Alex Coutinho, director, The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) in Uganda.

• Madhu Deshmukh, senior technical advisor, CARE International.

• Julian Fleet, acting chief, Policy and Coordination Unit, UNAIDS.

• Peter Lamptey, president, Family Health International Institute for HIV/AIDS.

• Robert Lindsay, director, Coca-Cola Africa Foundation.

• Timothy Mastro, deputy director, Global AIDS Program, CDC.

• Ruth Okediji, Edith Gaylord Harper Presidential Professor, University of Oklahoma College of Law.

• Len Rubenstein, executive director, Physicians for Human Rights.

• Raj Shah, chief policy analyst, senior economist, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

• Paul Zeitz, executive director, Global AIDS Alliance.

The symposium will address questions such as:

• Is there a long-range formula for success against HIV/AIDS in the developing world?

• Will human rights ever trump intellectual property rights?

• How can developing nations encourage the production and sale of HIV/AIDS drugs
while ensuring these medicines are not used inappropriately or diverted to other countries?

• In what ways can the global community more effectively enforce the World Trade Organization’s TRIPS (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property) agreement?

The event is being organized by the Emory International Law Review and sponsored by the law school and Care International.

“The combination of prohibitive costs and rigorous drug regimens often places drug therapies beyond the reach of many developing nations,” said Peter Fischer, a member of the Emory International Law Review and symposium chair. “The choices made today regarding intellectual property rights and duties will undoubtedly help shape the contours—for better or worse—of the epidemic in the future.”

For more information or to register for the symposium, contact the Emory International Law Review at 404-727-5774, or visit the symposium web site at