Less than half a century ago, a positive diagnosis of HIV or AIDS would be a death sentence. For decades, so little was known about the virus that doctors actually referred to it as “gay-related immune deficiency” because of the prominence of the disease in that community. It would be nearly 15 years after the first confirmed case of HIV infection until the FDA licensed the first commercial blood test to even detect antibodies.
Even with a bumpy beginning, HIV and AIDS research has come a long way. Just in 2012 the FDA approves a drug for HIV-negative people, which will help from contracting the virus; and today, more than 18 million people worldwide have access to antiretroviral therapy, which considerably enhances patient care and extends life expectancy.
AIDS has taken the lives of such starts as Freddie Mercury and Rock Hudson, while stars like Magic Johnson and Charlie Sheen are able to live relatively normal lives with current treatment options. With the on-going research and awareness efforts, there is hope of ending AIDS by 2030, a goal that is truly worthwhile.
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