Trace the history of HIV/AIDS in the world

HIV/AIDS can be traced back to the twentieth century, when the virus first appeared in Central Africa. HIV is thought to have been introduced to humans by the hunting and consumption of chimps, which carry a virus identical to HIV known as simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV).

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In the United States, the first instances of AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), the disease caused by HIV, were recorded in 1981. Early instances were largely among gay men, but the disease quickly spread to other populations, including intravenous drug users and blood transfusion recipients. There was a lot of anxiety and misinformation regarding the disease in the early years of the epidemic, which was previously called “gay-related immune deficiency” or GRID.

As the epidemic expanded over the world, researchers worked to gain a deeper knowledge of the virus and create medicines to curb its spread. The first commercial HIV blood test became available in 1985, allowing for more reliable diagnosis and screening of blood donations. The first antiretroviral medicine, AZT, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987, signalling a significant advance in the treatment of HIV/AIDS.

Efforts were made during the 1990s and 2000s to enhance access to HIV testing and treatment, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where the disease was most prevalent. In the mid-1990s, the development of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) transformed HIV/AIDS treatment, allowing people living with the disease to live longer and healthier lives.

Notwithstanding these achievements, the HIV/AIDS epidemic remains a major public health concern, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than two-thirds of all HIV/AIDS patients live. Efforts to combat the disease have centred on a variety of interventions, including condom distribution, HIV testing and counselling, and access to ART for persons living with HIV/AIDS.

Currently, HIV/AIDS remains a serious global health concern, with an estimated 38 million individuals worldwide infected with the virus. While great progress has been made in the fight against the disease, much more effort need to be done to reach the aim of permanently ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

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