Since emerging in the early 1980s, human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) has become a devastating worldwide epidemic. Commonly referred to as HIV, the virus gradually weakens the immune system ultimately leading to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) where the body becomes vulnerable to various diseases.
Although combination drug therapy, initially championed by ADARC, has helped reduce the death rate from HIV in America and Western Europe to one-fifth of what it once was, the epidemic continues. United Nations AIDS officials and the World Health Organization estimate that about 2.5 million people worldwide were newly infected with HIV in 2011, while about 1.7 million people died from AIDS, with the total number of people living with HIV/AIDS currently standing at about 34 million.*
The race to find vaccines and better drug treatments for this deadly virus continues. Learn more about the discoveries researchers have already made on the following pages in this section.