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History of HIV and AIDS

A red AIDS awareness ribbonThe history of HIV and AIDS is a short one, and the origins of HIV are disputed; yet since it was first reported just over thirty years ago AIDS has become one of the leading causes of death worldwide.

With time, as research, investment and commitment into understanding HIV increased, treatment methods evolved and the health of people living with HIV improved around the world.

Covered in this section are detailed year-by-year accounts of the HIV epidemic, including different country responses to preventing, testing and treating HIV, enabling you to learn how the response to HIV and AIDS has changed over time.

Moving through our ‘HIV and AIDS History’ pages you will be guided through the:

In the early years of the epidemic, AIDS was unknown and misunderstood, feared, untreatable and often fatal. Years down the line, a virus named HIV was discovered and linked to AIDS. That was the turning point in AIDS history.

HIV history then took a sharp turn with the development of highly-effective antiretroviral drugs which meant that, with access to treatment, people could lead healthy lives with HIV. 

Key historical moments in the history of HIV and the history of AIDS can be explored through the HIV and AIDS timeline page, such as the various advances in HIV treatment over the years; the impact and evolution of legislation; and HIV activism, among other epidemic defining events.

Find out more about where HIV and AIDS come from on our Origin of HIV & AIDS page >>

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