Tragically, mass killers are thing new in Africa. Malaria still claims about as many African lives as AIDS, and preventable childhood diseases kill millions of others. What sets AIDS apart, however, is its unprecedented impact on regional development. Because it kills so many adults in the prime of their working and parenting lives, it decimates the workforce, fractures and impoverishes families, orphans millions, and shreds the fabric of communities. The costs it imposes force countries to make heartbreaking choices between today's and future lives, and between health and dozens of other vital investments for development. Given these realities, African governments and their partners must act w to prevent further HIV infections and to care for and support the millions of Africans already infected and affected. As part of the World Bank's effort to play a stronger role, the first part of this publication introduces the Bank's new strategy to combat the epidemic in partnership with African governments and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The second part documents the growing epidemic, its impact on various sectors, and the imperative of urgent action. Additional sections define building blocks for an effective response, delineate the strategic plan for intensifying the actions against AIDS in Africa, discuss the implementation of the suggested measures, and outline further steps that will be necessary after the strategies have been inculcated.