Purpose of review: In this review I will narrate and discuss recent North–South health research partnerships and how such partnerships are of mutual benefit to both.
Recent developments: Globalization has shrunk the world into a virtual single community in which actions of individuals may have global repercussion. The ever-improving accessibility to fast communications through both transportation and knowledge and information exchange is making this virtual community even smaller. The current large global burden of diseases of poverty, made worse by the HIV/AIDS pandemic is a major concern for all. Although the South bears the brunt of this burden and is disproportionately adversely affected, the ill effects are global. Among these effects, include global poverty, development constraints and insecurity. It is no wonder that scientists from both north and south are working together to mitigate the effects of this scourge for the mutual benefit of all.
Summary: Despite a period of 25 years since the onset of the HIV/AIDS pandemic many challenges still abound. A preventive vaccine is still illusive and care and prevention programmes not universal. To mitigate this several global initiatives and North–South partnerships are working together for the common good. Such collaborations seen in academic settings, research institutions, networks of excellence and the private sector engage in research, training and service provision. This cooperation includes discovery and evaluations of HIV vaccine candidates as well as treatment and prevention methods.