The History Behind AIDS

hiv-218541_640Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is the beginning stage of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. HIV is a virus that cannot be fully eradicated from the body, currently, which means that once contracted, a person will have AIDS or HIV for the remainder of their life. Over time, we have gained a better understanding of the virus and are working to find a cure and prevention techniques.

The earliest known case of HIV in a human was diagnosed outside of the US in 1959. In 1981, the US began to see HIV cases beginning with males. Typically, homosexual men were going to the doctor because of symptoms similar to an infection caused by pneumonia. In 1982, the AIDS term was used by the CDC when they were describing the virus that was spreading across the nation. This is also the year that San Francisco opened a clinic specifically for the AIDS disease.

In 1984 it was discovered that AIDS was a complete syndrome while HIV was the virus that would cause the full blown disease. In 1985, The FDA gave the approval for a blood test that would be made available for people in the medical field to test a patient’s blood to determine if they had the disease. After being identified, an epidemic occurred which resulted in AIDS being the main cause of death in 1994 in Americans between the age of 25 and 44.

By 1997, a treatment is known as HAART or highly active antiretroviral therapy. This therapy leads the field in the treatment of the disease. While the numbers of deaths did decrease, people were worried that this type of treatment may create resistant strains of the disease, or be too aggressive. In 2002, the first home test for HIV was approved by the FDA. In more recent times, it is believed that the spread of the HIV may be stopped by a daily intake of a medicine.

Although not as popular currently as it used to be, HIV and AIDS still plays a major part in many people’s lives. The disease is not one that should be taken lightly as it still cannot be cured. Prevention may be our first step toward curing or vaccinations.

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