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HIV Infection In The World

Although HIV emerged in 1960s, today is still called the “silent period”. HIV infection, whose spread has been noticed by world of medicine in 1970s, was limited with Africa’s remote areas for long years. Then the virus spread across the world.

The infection was first revealed in 1981, due to broad reporting of two rare diseases in New York and California states of USA. Increase in these diseases, which were rarely reported by usually old people with weak immune system, has grabbed wide attention. But since those who reported the diseases were mostly men having sex with men, it was considered to be a homosexual disease. Later on, IV drug users have been observed to have the disease, too.

With the diagnosis of immune system deficiency in all cases reported in 1982, the disease was named “ Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome” (AIDS) by USA Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in June. Aids was the first term used for HIV infection in the world. Same year, it was discovered that the infection does not only transmit via sex, but also blood transfusion.

Organization of people living with HIV and creating support groups coincide with this time, too. Terrence Higgens Trust started HIV activism during these years, and the foundation named after him is still active.

By 1984, spread of infection significantly increased, and it was acknowledged that besides men having sex with men, women had the infection as well. Accordingly, it was acknowledged that HIV infection does not affect just one gender or sexual orientation, but poses a risk for all humanity.

Two separate research groups in USA and France announced that they found the virus causing the disease, almost at the same time. At International Cancer Institute in USA, the virus causing AIDS was isolated and named Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 3 (HTLV-3). At Pasteur Institute in Paris, France, the virus causing AIDS was isolated from an infected lymphatic gland and named “Lymphadenopathy associated virus (LAV)”.

In 1985, it was proved that LAV and HTLV-3 are the same virus. Same year, antibody testing was developed to detect to see if people encountered the virus. ELISA method which was developed to detect the antibodies was approved by FDA.

HIV transmission through mother’s milk was reported for the first time. And projects have been conducted to raise public awareness about HIV transmission ways.

By 1986, USA government announced the name of the virus as HIV, and the following year, two medications were licensed and approved as official medications. Same year, famous American model Gia Carangi died of other AIDS related diseases and became the first famous female to die of AIDS in the world.

In late 1980s, December 1st was announced as World AIDS Day by World Health Organization to raise awareness for HIV infection and also to commemorate the ones died of the infection. During that time, another effective medication in treatment of the virus was invented.

In early 1990s, “red ribbon” was announced as the official symbol of the fight against HIV infection.

In 1994, a medication called Zidovidin was approved to reduce the vertical transmission.

In 1995, AIDS has become the major cause of death among people aged between 25-44 in USA, and over one million people living with HIV at AIDS stage were reported. 

In 1996, global death toll reached 9 millions due to developed complications at AIDS stage.

Another effective medication was invented, and adoption of a treatment using more than pill began. Same year, HIV/AIDS disease has been reported as world’s fourth biggest health issue by WHO.

In 2001, UN gathered all world countries and held a special meeting, emphasizing the control of the infection in the long term.

In 2003, “Global Fund” was founded by UN to consolidate the fight against HIV infection, tuberculosis and malaria.

In 2004, new phenomenons highly increased in Eastern European and former Soviet Bloc countries.

Using more than one pill a day ended and adoption of taking one pill a day in HIV treatment began in 2006.

In 2007, WHO/UNAIDS recommended circumcision due to its protectiveness by means of HIV transmission. Same year, two new treatment methods added to the existing ones.

In 2010, promising studies were issued regarding the prevention of vertical transmission, pre-exposure protective treatment and circumcision.

In 2012, FDA approved the pre-exposure protective treatment.

Vaccine studies began at Oxford, and studies on a new vaccine and medication are still ongoing.