Introduction to HIV/AIDS
The first cases of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) were reported in the United States in the spring of 1981. By 1983 the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS, had been isolated. Early in the U.S. HIV/AIDS pandemic, the role of substance abuse in the spread of AIDS was clearly established. Injection drug use (IDU) was identified as a direct route of HIV infection and transmission among injection drug users. The largest group of early AIDS cases comprised gay and bisexual men (referred to as men who have sex with men(or MSMs). Early cases of HIV infection that were sexually transmitted often were related to the use of alcohol and other substances, and the majority of these cases…show more content…
However, people can take antiretroviral treatment, which suppresses the HIV virus. This can prevent them from reaching a point where they are diagnosed with AIDS. Also, in some cases, it is possible for a person who has an AIDS diagnosis to regain a strong immune system with antiretroviral therapy. However, once somebody is diagnosed with AIDS, officially they keep this diagnosis for life even though in reality an opportunistic infection may be cured or the number of immune system cells (CD4 cells) in their blood may increase to recommended levels.1
Although there is no cure for AIDS, HIV infection can be prevented, and those living with HIV can take antiretroviral drugs to prevent or delay the onset of AIDS. However, in many countries across the world access to prevention and treatment services is limited. Global leaders have pledged to work towards universal access to HIV prevention and care, so that millions of deaths can be averted.
Antiretroviral treatment can significantly prolong the lives of people living with HIV. Modern combination therapy is highly effective and someone with HIV who is taking treatment could live for the rest of their life without developing AIDS.
An AIDS diagnosis does not necessarily equate to a death sentence. Many people can still benefit from starting antiretroviral therapy even once they have developed an AIDS defining illness. Better treatment and prevention