June 6, 2011
Three decades after the first cases of AIDS were recorded, more than 60 million people have been infected worldwide. Scientists agree that the epidemic is far from over and, even with major treatment advances and improvement in understanding the illness, hurdles remain in the effort to eradicate the disease.
KQED: AIDS At 30
Thirty years ago, the Centers for Disease Control reported that five previously healthy young men in Los Angeles had come down with a rare lung disease. It was the start of a medical mystery, solved years later with the discovery of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. We talk with activists and caregivers in San Francisco who were part of those early days of the epidemic (Shafer, 6/3).
... Donald Abrams and Paul Volberding, among the first doctors to study the strange new disease, reflect on the disease. Dr. ABRAMS: As someone who's not directly involved anymore in the field, I think the challenge is really trying to promulgate the prevention message. ... Dr. VOLBERDING: Well, the treatments that we have here for Americans with access to care are really quite good. They're much more convenient than they used to be, they're much less toxic than they used to be but they still have drawbacks. And the hope now is that the thought that there might be a possibility of a cure, there's also still a lot of work to find a vaccine (Lyden, 6/5).
Chicago Sun-Times: AIDS No Longer a Death Sentence, but the Epidemic Is Far From Over
On June 5, 1981, federal health officials issued a report about five young, gay men in Los Angeles struck with a rare form of pneumonia usually limited to people with failed immune systems. Thirty years later, the virus that causes AIDS has infected more than 60 million people worldwide and killed nearly half that number, including more than 20,000 people in Illinois. But with more than 56,000 new HIV infections in the United States each year, the AIDS epidemic is far from over. And despite better treatments, there is still no cure, and significant hurdles remain in eradicating the disease (Thomas, 6/5). The Chicago-Sun Times also has an accompanying timeline (6/5).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
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