Marking Time in the Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic
JAMA July 12, 2016 V.316 N.2 P.145-146
Gerald Friedland, MD
AIDS Program, Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
In June 1981, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published the first case reports of the yet to be named global pandemic of HIV/AIDS. Unknown at the time of the first few reported cases, HIV had already spread widely in populations of men who had sex with men, people who injected drugs and their heterosexual partners in the United States and Europe, and in large populations of men, women, and children in Africa. Since that date of first recognition, the magnitude and consequences of the US and global HIV pandemic have been carefully documented.
The International AIDS Conference (first held in 1985, and since 1988, organized by the International AIDS Society [IAS]) has come to serve as a timepiece, marking advances and setbacks, and major turning points in the pandemic. The first decades of the pandemic were associated with increasing morbidity and mortality as HIV/AIDS became one of the leading causes of death among young men and women worldwide. Over time, the biology and routes of HIV transmission were identified and increasingly understood. Subsequently, the development of antiretroviral therapy (ART) halted the progression of disease and restored health for those who could access this lifesaving treatment….