Thirtieth anniversary of the first reported cases of AIDS
It has been 30 years since the appearance of an article concerning five previously healthy, young gay men in Los Angeles diagnosed with an infection that usually appears only in individuals with substantial immune system damage. The disease ultimately would be referred to as AIDS.
Balintfy: Experts are gratified by the progress that has been made in understanding, treating and preventing HIV/AIDS over the past 30 years. Dr. Anthony Fauci, an institute director at the National Institutes of Health emphasizes that there is still much more to do.
Fauci: The amount of medical and biomedical research advances has been breathtaking, but in the same time we must realize that even 30 years into the pandemic, we still have a number of important challenges, both scientific challenges and implementation challenges. We need a vaccine, we are hoping that we might get a cure and also need to get to people who infected who don’t know that they are infected to get them into care and to put them on therapy.
Balintfy: Dr. Fauci points out that when he first started working with HIV infected people, their prognosis was grim – they would only be expected to live a matter of months. Now with antiretroviral drugs, a patient with HIV who starts treatment quickly, may live an additional 50 years. Dr. Fauci adds that the 30th anniversary of the recognition of the first cases of what ultimately turned out to be AIDS back in the summer of 1981 is a very important date.
Fauci: Because over the past three decades, we have come such a long way and made such extraordinary progress in a variety of areas with regard to HIV/AIDS from the initial demonstration of HIV as being the causative agent to the development of a diagnostic test and importantly to development of effective therapies that have transformed in a positive way, the lives of HIV infected individuals.
Balintfy: He points out that the NIH is the single largest public funder of HIV/AIDS research in the world, adding that HIV/AIDS pandemic will remain one of the most serious public health crises of our time until better, more effective and affordable prevention and treatment regimens are developed and universally available.
Fauci: What we need to do is to just at this time reconfirm our commitment that there is still a long way to go, although we have accomplished much, there is still much to do, and this 30-year commemoration and anniversary should serve for us as a remembrance of what we still need to do.
Balintfy: Dr. Fauci reminds that despite the global public health community’s best efforts to prevent new infections, 2.6 million people around the world became newly infected with HIV in 2009 alone. He also highlights recent research showing that an HIV-infected individual can dramatically reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to an uninfected heterosexual partner by starting treatment when his or her immune system is relatively healthy. For more information on HIV/AIDS research, visit www.niaid.nih.gov. This is Joe Balintfy, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Joe Balintfy
Sound Bite: Dr. Anthony Fauci
Topic: AIDS, HIV, HIV/AIDS, pandemic, treatment, prevention, research, anniversary