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It is urgent to "save Africa" from AIDS. For the first time, an African policy-maker analyses the pandemic in depth, describing its dynamics and raising new questions and new issues. The stakes are high: the future of Africa and its development depend on the answers. In this appeal, Urbain Olanguena Awono underlines the importance of international action for universal access to prevention and treatment. Overcoming this challenge demands major investments, ever increasing human and financial resources and a permanent political commitment. To reverse the course of the epidemic, the author recommends the idea of a "social vaccine" that calls on the responsibility of African leaders and African communities. Today we must defy the taboos and break with some sociocultural factors likely to nourish new infections. The Cameroonian Minister of Health pleads for an "inculturation" of the combat against this disease that is deconstructing the economic and social tissue of the continent and risks condemning it.