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Viruses, Plagues, and HistoryPast, Present, and Future$
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Michael B. A. Oldstone

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190056780

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190056780.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 September 2021

Human Immunodeficiency Virus: AIDS, the Current Plague

Human Immunodeficiency Virus: AIDS, the Current Plague

(p.295) 16 Human Immunodeficiency Virus: AIDS, the Current Plague
Viruses, Plagues, and History

Michael B. A. Oldstone

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a lethal disease cause by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Of the more than 75 million people HIV has infected in the 36 years (1983–2019) since the initial case report, nearly one-half of them have died. Not only the victims of this infection but also their families, communities, countries, and even continents endured years of suffering as AIDS proceeded on its long course of physical destruction. Today, however, the enormous advance in antivirus drug therapy has dramatically reduced the death rate and altered the portrait of this disease from an acute lethal disease to a chronic persistent infection. In 2019, the combination antiretroviral therapy has enabled those infected to survive at roughly the same rate as the general non-infected population. However, this increased longevity includes an upsurge in the former group’s medical problems caused by the side effects of antiretroviral therapy. Despite an outlay of $1 billion per year for AIDS research, no vaccine is on the horizon for preventing this medical catastrophe.

Keywords:   AIDS, HIV, antivirus drug therapy, antiretroviral therapy, AIDS research, side effect, medical problem

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