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HIV/AIDS 30 years on

posted 4 Jun 2011, 06:18 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 4 Jun 2011, 06:21 ]
30 years after the discovery of HIV/AIDS, public awareness wanes.

AIDS 30TH ANNIVERSARY - 30 years ago on June 5th, an American doctor made a remarkable discovery.

But at the time, Dr. Michael Gottlieb had no idea how tragic the new human immunodeficiency virus would become.


DR. MICHAEL GOTTLIEB, UCLA ASSOCIATE CLINICAL PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE AND THE FIRST PERSON TO IDENTIFY AIDS AS A NEW DISEASE, SAYING:

"We couldn't possibly know that and today it's kind of mind-boggling that our few patients that we reported were the first reported in this epidemic that has gone global and involves tens of millions of people. We couldn't possibly have imagined that."

The first documented cases of HIV/ AIDS were in San Francisco's gay community in the early '80's.

Although homosexual men accounted for 70 percent of all cases in the U.S.-- that quickly changed.

Transferred through semen, blood and breast milk--intravenous drug users and hemophiliacs were also found to be at high risk - as were their sexual partners and children.

Early medical breakthroughs produced powerful drug cocktail treatments that were expensive and hard to come by.

Today, only about five of the 12 million patients who need the drugs have access to them.

In sub-Saharan Africa, 22.5 million people live with HIV/AIDS... thats about 68 percent of the global total.


DIRECTOR OF PERI-NATAL HIV RESEARCH UNIT AT CHRIS HANI BARAGWANATH HOSPITAL, DR GLENDA GRAY, SAYING:

"We know that South Africa has got more HIV infections than any other country in the world, and we still don't have a bio-medical intervention that can protect women and young girls from HIV."

Governments in places like China are stepping up public education on HIV/AIDS and giving patients more and better access to life-lengthening medicine.


DR. MICHAEL GOTTLIEB, UCLA ASSOCIATE CLINICAL PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE AND THE FIRST PERSON TO IDENTIFY AIDS AS A NEW DISEASE, SAYING:

"The fact of the matter is that HIV is still very much with us and in North America and Europe and around the world, that this bad guy hasn't gotten out of Dodge City, it's still very much with us. It hasn't left."

Now 30 years after his discovery Michael Gottlieb hopes public compassion for HIV/AIDS continues its momentum.

Julie Noce, Reuters

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